Lifelong dream 30 years in the making

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By Jenny Bain

Set on six acres of rural land, overlooking a reserve of native bush and their recently enhanced nut orchard, sits a Nelson couple’s new home — one they have dreamt about building for 30 years.

After 34 years of marriage, three children, and 30 years of running a business, Leanne and Steve Fry set about looking for the right plot of land to build their dream home.

“We both had a dream to own a block of land; for years we thought about it, but we always seemed to be too busy with the kids and the business,” Leanne says.

All that wishing and hoping changed when the perfect six acres came on the market at Appleby, 19km from Nelson, which they bought by tender of the subdivision of a former government research orchard. The sale included a house and a workshop.

Having secured the land, rather than live in the house — which Leanne hated — they decided to rent it out for a couple of years, giving them more time to think and plan for the future.

During those years they worked to improve the land, re-fencing, planting 300 trees, ploughing and re-sowing, along with experimenting with fruit trees, and eventually creating a nut orchard specialising in macadamias, almonds, hazelnuts and pine nuts.

They hired various architects to draw up plans, based on what they wanted for the new home. But despite spending “a small fortune”, they were never fully happy with any of the plans presented, and admit they didn’t feel comfortable challenging the designers.

In the end they designed the home themselves with the help of a draughtsman who tidied up a few areas.

“We wanted a modern farmhouse with a rustic flavour, but a few luxury aspects as well. It was to be a flat roof to follow the style of the sleep-outs, with corrugated iron, to mirror the roof style of the workshop.

“We stipulated low maintenance, and that the home would sit low on the slope of the land in order to capture the amazing views.

“It was important to have three separate areas — one area of the house for us, then a guest wing for our now grown-up children, with its own bathroom, lounge area and two bedrooms.

The house presents as a series of pavilions, each area capturing the best of the rural views — with the corridors between each wing also offering views through double-glazed, argon-filled windows.

Inside the main pavilion is an office, dining and living areas, a kitchen, scullery and three big storage areas — one at each end, and one near the garage.

Leanne and Steve were focused on using local businesses for bathroom fixtures and fittings, kitchen, cabinetry and joinery, and wanted New Zealand products too, which is where Freeman Roofing Nelson stepped in to assist and advise on the roofing aspects of this development.

They fell in love with the new Six-Rib COLORSTEEL® FlaxPod® Matte for the wall cladding, and the FlaxPod® from the standard gloss range on the roof, all supplied by Freeman Roofing and installed by contractors Daniel and Konrad Zust.

“We just love the dramatic black effect this product has provided, and it blends beautifully with the rural landscape – and we are definitely on trend with the COLORSTEEL® wall cladding,” Leanne says.

“We were so motivated that we decided to allow the build to be a charge-up job — risky but, we thought, honest. We hired three independent builders, and they worked well together. We feel we got an amazing, old-fashioned build.

The external walls are six inches thick and the internal walls four inches thick — all fully insulated, and we have a polished concrete floor.”

Leanne is happy to now have the kitchen she envisaged, with its old fashioned butcher’s block, and she is enthusiastic about the bright orange front door, which blends beautifully with the wall cladding.

• Story courtesy of RANZ’s Rooflink magazine.

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