Dream Home

Video Diaries

We’re bringing a video camera along for the journey with us and every couple of weeks we’ll be uploading a new episode right here.

Our Design

Episode One – So What Do We Do?

Episode Two – The Right Spot To Build?

Episode Three – Meet Our Builders

Episode Four – A Pre-Fabulous Building Method

Episode Five – Winning Windows & Doors

Episode Six – Ready To Rock

Episode Seven – Breaking New Ground

Episode Eight – A House. Almost!

Episode Nine – Seeing The Light

Episode Ten – A roof!

Episode Eleven – Getting into the interiors!

Episode Twelve – Stairway to heaven

Episode Thirteen – Doors, Decks, Curtains & Floors

Episode Fourteen – We’re In!

86 Comment
  1. Hope you are having a glass floor or panel in bridge floor it’s a must, we lifted a house into bush on poles up to 5mtrs high, great veives of mercury bay

  2. Hi guys,

    Sounds awesome and inspiring. I will be sharing this with my husband when he gets home. Might be the push he needs. Good luck with everything and I look forward to following your progress.

  3. Hi Guys,

    Just like you, me and my wife are about to start our second new build but this time we want to build using new methods. Currently we are looking at a building system called Metra Panel which will give us energy efficiency and a speedy build. After going to you website/blog we are also now looking at Formance SIPs panels. Love your house design and I wish you both all the best. It’s great to build new when you get the opportunity.

    Mark & Judy

    • Hey Mark, thanks for getting in touch. Awesome! Yeah it’s great to build, but certainly stressful at times! No doubt you’ll be pros second time around though :) Love to hear how you get on and to see your progress/decision on how you’ll build it.

      • Hi Ben,

        Our first build went ok, a few delays but nothing drastic. I think the reason for this was that we come up with a concept and we stuck with it, no changers on during the build. We are building in the Pokeno Village Estate subdivision and our house design follows a similar layout as yours, bedrooms on one side with a connecting entrance way to the kitchen and living area. I would love to keep you up dated with our build with all its ups and downs.

        Good luck


        • Awesome, love to see it and keep up to date with your progress. Fire through links/photos at any time! Yeah, we’d like to think that once we get on site we’ll be sticking to the plans completely. Kind of have to given it’s all pre-made!
          Likewise, good luck.

  4. Hi Ben and Kylie
    We built a new home 16 years ago and it was a great experience. It does pay to keep a close eye on the build and visit every day, especially once the internal decorating fit out is being done. Have you ever thought of having aluminium window sills/frames inside. We did this in our bathrooms and wished we had done the whole house. There is no maintenance and they still look brand new, where as the wood is starting to look a little sad with the putty popping out of the wood on the sills that get a lot of sun. We also included a small vent in the frame of some of the windows that was not noticeable from the outside but was great to have some air coming into the house when we were out at work all day. These could be closed off in the winter but our house is so warm and airtight that we leave them open all the time.
    All the best for this most exciting time in your life!

    • Hey Sheryl, thanks for positive words of encouragement…..having such pedantic eyes for detail and only 5 mins from our build site, there’s not a chance we won’t be there everyday! Although we have fantastic builders that we trust completely, so know we are in safe hands. Can’t wait to get started now!

    • We’re using electric – love to use solar but we have our roof deck covering one roof, then the other is almost completely under the bush canopy so not that handy for solar!

    • Hey Lance. No plumbing runs through the SIPs panels, it all comes up through the floor or internal walls.

      Wiring wise, the panels come with channels through them for switches and power points which our suitable wiring will run through. Easy as!

  5. Hi Ben & Kylie,

    This morning I read your column in the Herald on Sunday regarding the exterior cladding for your project, very interesting read. As you know we are progressing with our project although we don’t have our titles as yet (sometime October November 2014 I think) but we have chosen our wood flooring to run throughout the house and tiles for the bathroom. We have a good builder lined up and that’s the most important thing. The exterior cladding for the house will be in a brick and wood finish. The wood will be Board and Batten with the Battens closely spaced to give us a more dramatic ribbed effect. It’s been a little bit slow the last couple of weeks, but things are picking up once again.

    Will keep you posted


    • Hey Mark, cheers for the update. I can visualise your board and batten effect. A style I like too. How have you gotten on with the Metra Panels? Are you still looking at pre-fabrication in some shape or form? You’ll be stoked the weather has dried right up in time for your build to begin!

  6. Hi Ben,

    After being let down by the recommended installers of Metra Panel, me and my wife Judy have decided to go back to the conventional framing system but we will make sure that we have the best insulation that our budget can buy. I’m very obsessed with having the house very well insulated, sound proofed and cosy. I just think back to when we lived in the UK and how easy it was to construct your home in a pre-fabricated fashion. Pre-Fab is still very new here in NZ but small companies are popping up all the time from what I can see on the internet. The weather is starting to look better and I just want to get on with the build (come on titles).

    • Hey Mark, what a shame you were let down by Metra Panel, but here’s to everything being plain sailing from now on in. I know right, just want to build!

  7. Hi Ben & Kylie,

    Love the design ideas it’s a beautiful and challenging site. I’m guessing the bridge will separate living and sleeping areas?
    Just a couple of thoughts regarding my experience with aluminium joinery, we’ve large glass paneled sliders which are awesome but are in a narrow profiled frame which the kids love to open at speed. I’ve noticed that with the weight the end frame can move out from glass, though it does push back seemingly undamaged. I do wonder if it may have better to have selected a more robust commercial frame.
    With your consideration to wall insulation will you go for thermally broken joinery? With our large double glazed windows and doors the temperature transfer in winter is really noticeable through the aluminium.
    Also with your selection of glass balustrade, is how dirty and difficult it will be to clean between the fascia and connecting points. (Esp. with the leaf fall) I wonder if frosting or sand blasting glass to floor level might retain a clean look?
    It may also be a good idea to install something like gutter guard with all those beautiful trees surrounding you it will no doubt save a lot of gutter cleaning.

    Great work on the stream, it will create a very peaceful ambience with water flow across the stones.

    • Hey Mark. Yes, you’re correct, we have our living areas on one side of the stream and our bedrooms/bathrooms on the other side.

      Thanks for your thoughts and experiences with your joinery. We’ve actually gone with the highest performance profile possible for our large sliding doors – it’s the Eurostacker by Fletcher Window & Door Systems in the Atlantic Suite profile. So it’s a commercial spec basically, but also looks great and is super easy to slide. Sounds like that may hit the mark with regards to your comments? Have written about our full joinery selection here if you were interested http://www.ourdreamhome.co.nz/our-windows-and-doors/

      Thank you, will definitely take on board re cleaning of balustrades etc. But yeah, we’re conscious of that factor, but always a trade off between looks and functionality. The beauty of our flat roof is easy access to clean, especially from our roof deck. And yes, will be installing some form of gutter guard, plus I’ve committed to a pretty regular (monthly) maintenance regime – but luckily, access is super easy given the roof deck etc.

      Cheers for getting in touch, and your positive feedback about our house. Looking forward to listening to that peaceful ambience from inside our finished home, that’s for sure!

  8. Hi Ben,

    Read your article featured in Living Magazine (NZ Herald issue 26/10/14), it made an interesting read. I do not know how far you have got with your joinery but I’m hoping this information is valuable.

    While you were very well instructed on the Glazing for your home, were you introduced to the ‘Thermally Broken aluminium’ joinery? The guys at Rylock provide the Fletcher option called “Pacific Thermal Suite” (http://www.fwds.co.nz/Other-Suites/Pacific-Thermal-Suite).

    The thermally broken aluminium system basically has an insulation that causes a split in the frame (aluminium joinery) thereby stopping the heat loss or gain through the frames. Apart from the heat loss/ gain, this insulation helps in significant reduction of condensation you see at the edge of the glass and on the aluminium. Of interest to Kylie would be the dual color possibilities now that the frames are split.

    Here’s a link to a video that explains in detail, it’s 4.23 minutes long. Sorry it does not have the same effect that you guys have in front of the camera but it’s definitely worth watching. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjI24nlMXKA

    Please feel free to contact me should you need any further info.

    Thanks very much for your time and all the very best with your new home.

    Kind regards

    • Hey Harvey, thanks for your positive words and expert opinion. Yeah, we’ve been exploring the thermally broken option, however given the size of our windows, we need to run with the high performance Atlantic Suite. Seems to be a continual trade off process this building caper! May still try a mix and match approach if looks seamless.

  9. Hi Guys,

    Great to see you taking this project head on. Can’t wait to see the first peg or should I say pole go in. Just a quick question who is the architect on the project, apart from yourselves of course. Keep up the good and hard work as you work towards a cold beer from stream to roof deck when finished.

    • Thanks Mattt—haha, neither can we. Then the sub floor, then the walls, roof….! We had Goodison Architectural produce our Building Consent drawings for us. Looking forward to that cold beer!

  10. Hi guys, really interesting to follow this. Curious to know if you will be disclosing any budget for the build and what certain options are costing?

    • Thanks GJ. Yeah, for sure. Have been disclosing costs so far around all the pre-lim works etc and this weekend’s article covers off our Building Consent costs etc. As progress through will keep updating costs of key items in the house such as kitchen, bathrooms and the like. Check out http://www.nzherald.co.nz/bravenewbuild for all the back articles too.

  11. Hi Guys,

    Great to see that you have started to get the build out of the ground, all be it with a few minor hiccups. I cannot believe how many piles you have, it almost looks like a Greek ruin with columns. We are still pushing a long with our build, just waiting on the titles to be released and final Architects drawings to be presented to the council for approval. We are building on a slightly slopping site so we have to cut and fill with a retaining wall. But last week when we thought we had sorted out the foundation design for the house, the engineer felt that we needed more piles in one corner of the retaining wall as not to disturb the storm water pipe below. Now the foundations are being redesigned with a single concrete pile in the corner which is coming at a cost to us, but we have to suck it up and move on. We have agreed a fixed build cost with the contractor, so that’s one less thing to think about. As I mentioned to you a while back, this is our second build and we have learnt a lot since then and we have sourced a lot of the internal items like vanities, taps, basins etc from the internet and taking advantage of special offers from supplies, which has saved us so much money.



    • Hey Mark…thanks for the update. Sounds like you’re charging ahead. Awesome! Yeah, we have about 50 piles, but at least half sit below our concrete garage slab, under the retaining walls and along the edge of our driveway. So should look less Greek ruin like by the end! We too had to amend our foundation design once the works began, but was quite minor luckily, only about $2k extra. Well worth the spend as you they are the foundations after all! Looking forward to our SIPs going up, and the house taking full shape pre Xmas. As second time builders you must know that feeling!

  12. Hi Ben,

    Yes our extra concrete pile is costing $1,600 + GST. The last build we let the contractor sort everything out, but this time, other than building it ourselves we want to contribute.

  13. Hi Ben & Kylie,

    Still following you guys, just been a bit busy with our own building project. Building consent was granted yesterday and the digger starts this Thursday 13th Feb. Here we go!

    • Hey Mark, congrats! Hope all the earthworks go smoothly and you get those foundations down super quickly – look forward to hearing the updates!

  14. Hi guys!
    I’ve been following your build (from Perth) and have really enjoyed watching your progress. Just in reference to your Q&A session, I loved how freely you spoke about affordability. Usually people shy away from even mentioning funding yet it is the major factor in building so it’s great that you answered those questions with an honest emphasis. You are so down to earth!
    As we are currently building, it’s been great to hear your advice and see how it all works. Basically Thanks!
    I hope all goes awesome for you both

    • Hey Alesha, thank you for your super kind words all the way from Perth! Really appreciate it. Hope your build goes well and you enjoy the process. It’s so much fun and super rewarding, well worth all the effort in the end!!

  15. I’ve been dealing with a 70s Keith hay home with a bathroom so rotten you could climb through holes and under the floor. I’ve found I alternate pleasant and unpleasant jobs to keep my motivation up. Seeing my boys playing in the sandpit, climbing frame and swings I made makes it all worth while. I saw tui and fantails in my urban garden is the benefit of backing into a reserve. Highland park and burswood are being connected by a cycle/walkway. We are loving the New locale. Thanks for the inspiration and motivation Ben and Kylie.

    • Thanks Lance….sounds like quite the DIY project! Be well worth it in the end though I’m sure. Especially bathrooms without rotten floors!

  16. Hey Ben & Kylie

    Have really enjoyed watching your dream home become reality.
    You’re both doing a great job project managing the build and certainly coming up with some excellent ideas etc. My wife and I are in the process of designing and building our dream home in Titirangi so we find your website and recommendations very helpful.
    One question I had is how do you decide on the order of doing things, especially the internal works? We have a great builder but we’ve been tasked with project managing the build to save costs so have our work cut out. While we love the job we have found it a little daunting at times in deciding on styles etc. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    If you’re ever free for a chat/coffee would love to meet you both and talk about our dream home


    Bay & Deb

    • Thanks guys, glad you’re finding our build somewhat handy for your own dream home!
      We’re not so much project managing in terms of scheduling, as our builders are doing this, as they know best around what needs to happen and when. Although we know what’s needed when in general terms.
      However in saying this we are arranging and managing a lot of the sub contractors, such as cladding merchants, flooring, painting, plasterboard, joinery, kitchen etc – works really well as have a good dialogue with our builders (1-2 every day probably) and talk about what’s needed when in regards to what we are organising. A big chunk is also planning finance for each draw down request from the bank – as some suppliers need cash on delivery or progress payments over a number of weeks, so need to be working quite a long way in advance to ensure materials are on site when they are needed.
      More than happy to meet up for a chat and a coffee. You’re more than welcome to come over and have a look at the house at the same time.
      Ben & Kylie

      • Thanks Ben & Kylie

        We appreciate it and will no doubt take you up on that offer at some point.

        Will be great to see a house being built


        Bay & Deb

  17. Hi guy I love the design of the house and also the video diaries that you make. Ben I was a huge fan of you and Libby on the block you guys were amazing

  18. Hi Ben and Kylie
    The house is looking great.
    The home behind yours was built for our family in the 70’s, the house was so cool back then it was like a real mansion. The land you are building on was our playground. I can remember my brother speeding up and down that driveway on his Raleigh Chopper bike (with a few hairy crashes and some missing skin!!) .
    looking forward to seeing the end result.


    • Hey Tracy, really, far out!
      We’ve been up to the house a few times, it’s getting a good reno by the current owners at the moment – must have been a real mansion in the 70s, and so surrounded by bush!
      Haha, Kylie and I have already talked about how much fun that drive will be for when we have children of our own. Between that, the bush and the stream, it’s an awesome playground for kids!
      More than welcome to come and have a look when we are finished. Keep in touch.

    • Hey Alyson….we do a new one about every 4 weeks. The next one should be done in the next two weeks.
      Thanks for watching!

  19. Really enjoyed watching all the videos and looking forward to seeing the progress. Just a side note, the “get progress updates” doesn’t seem to be working atm. :(

  20. Hi Ben and Kylie,
    Thanks for allowing us all to enjoy your adventure with you.
    I love the fact that you thought outside the box, and created what will eventually be an awesome house.
    I love that you have this amazing walkway going over the river, that is going to be a great feature.

    Keep up the good work, cant wait to catch up on the next video, like all the other fans out there.
    You have inspired me to start with renovations on my own property, although on a much smaller scale. :-)

    Question, how did your place fare with all the recent spates of weather around the country, the creek didnt ‘burst’ or anything?
    Thanks again.


    • Hey Mike, thanks for getting in touch! That’s awesome to hear we’ve inspired you! Honestly I think renovations are harder, especially if you’re living in the house at the same time – at least we can leave each day to a tidy, finished home!
      No, the stream has handled all the rain perfectly, no bursting of banks or anything like that. It actually looks the best when there is a heap of water coming down it.
      All the best with your DIY!

  21. Hey Ben & Kylie

    Still following your dream home with interest.
    We’re one week off lodging our consents then it will be full steam ahead. In you’re experience what is a realistic build timeframe to work to if the house is architecturally designed and on a challenging site like yours.

    Cheers, Bay & Deb

    • Awesome, congrats! From the start of earthworks, till when we hopefully move in, we’ll be about 8 months. Even though prefabricated, we had huge delays from some suppliers, such as steel manufacture and install. I think we could have done it in 5/6 if all materials were on site when they were needed. But conservatively, sounds like you’d be 8-10 months…what is your builder telling you?

      • that’s about what we were expecting and what our builder has indicated…we’re realistic and don’t want to rush it…sounds like its a challenge to avoid winter but if we can time it for summer so the roof is on before winter we should be ok

  22. Hello,

    Im 13 and I really enjoy watching your videos.
    I would love to build my own house when I’m older and the videos are very inspiring. I love following along and like drawing pictures of a house I would like.

    Thanks for sharing your work and videos.

    • Hey Ashleigh, that’s awesome! Keep up the drawing and love of houses. We’re really happy to hear you’re enjoying watch us build our own home. Good luck, Ben & Kylie :)

  23. Hey Guys,
    It has been great following progress, every week I have been checking your site for the latest release. You must be very close now.

    Thanks for all the ideas and for being brave enough to open up your project to the world!

    Would love to see the finished product.

    All the best,

    • Hey Greg, thanks for getting in touch and for the nice words. Yes, we are very close now, can’t wait to move in! Looking forward to sharing the finished product on here very soon!

    • Hey Lee. They were all done through our kitchen/cabinet maker – DL Cabinetmaking – but the bench tops themselves were poured by Slatecrete, but DL made the moulds and managed the whole process.

      • Thanks a lot for your reply, I will put their name in “my dream home” journal as we a planning a build in the next 2 years.

  24. Hi Guys,

    So the journey has come to an end and the house looks fantastic. I watched your last video and I cannot believe what you have achieved from such a difficult site, well done to you both. We have been give our move in date from the end of August so not long now.

    Good luck in your new home.



    • Thanks Mark, we’re really stoked with our finished home…you’re right, it’s amazing to look back at the old photos now! That’s awesome, you’ll be very excited….in well before summer and Xmas even! Keep in touch.

      • Hi Ben,

        Yes mate, just in time for summer. I’ll keep posted when all finished for sure.

        Sit back now and relax.


  25. Hi Ben and Kylie

    So great to see the final product, what an excellent job you’ve both done. The house looks stunning


    Bay & Deb

  26. Hi Kylie And Ben!

    Wow the house look absolutely stunning, well done!!
    The pinhole lights look beautiful, can I ask who supplied them to you? did you get them directly through us? couldn’t find you on our system, but would love to add you. We were just curious!
    Thank you!

    • Thanks Leanne! We’re really happy hour the house has turned out. Love your lights – such an awesome feature in our kitchen. Yes, we did get them directly from you, Kylie purchased them around 18 months ago now I think. Love to be added!

  27. Hi Kylie and Ben,
    I have just recently come across your website while researching for my own build. I love what you have created!
    I was interested to see that you have combined your shower and bath into a wet area in your bathroom. I am planning a similar configuration in my house but have had mixed comments about it from friends. I’m curious about how you find this now that you are living in and using the house… Do you find the spray from the shower onto the bath an issue? Would you change anything if you were starting over? Do you think a screen coming out 2/3 of the room would suffice instead of the door?
    Best of luck in your new home!

    • Hey Ewan, thank you, we really love how everything has turned out.
      Funnily enough our bathroom/wet area is one of the most commented on aspects of our interior. We really love it and wouldn’t change a thing.
      The space isn’t huge that we had to work with – approx 2mx4m however this layout makes the bathroom feel far larger than it actually is, plus lets you use almost every square metre. We’ve had no issue at all with spray onto the bath, in fact it almost gets no spray at all – although the bath is a decent distance away from the shower – around 1m. While a 2/3 screen is potentially more seamless and something we did consider, I wouldn’t recommend it as inevitably you will get water into your non-wet area. It happens all the time in showers I use in hotels etc, but we have no issue at all as the full glass retains the water where you want it.
      Use a ultra clear glass from Stu at 360 Glass http://www.360glass.co.nz and coat it with Ultrashield http://www.ultrashield.co.nz and you honestly won’t even notice it’s there, especially if you run to the ceiling. We didn’t run to the ceiling in the main bathroom as it was going to be funny with the lights, so consider your lighting layout alongside your glass set up to allow this. Remembering the extractor fan sits proud of the ceiling so can impede a door swinging open/closed too.
      Hope that helps! Feel free to fire through any other questions.

  28. Wow! Kylie and Ben, I am a little late in the up take but just brought the House of the Year magazine – saw your incredible home in it and as I investigated further it lead me to your house build. I love it and want to say thank you so much for sharing your house build journey. It is truly inspirational and motivational!

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