Walk into Ralph and Cathy Taylor’s newly-built house in the north Waikato and the fi rst thing that strikes you is an amazing collection of pendant lighting and lamps. Ralph is an electrician by trade and was guided in his selection of lighting options by his love of collectibles, and his aversion to downlights. “Downlights tend to highlight one area, almost like a spotlight, but they don’t give off warmth or a good distribution of light,” says Cathy. “We stepped back in time to an extent, searching out lighting from the 50s, 60s and 70s. These then turned out to be a feature of the house and gave a sense of character and distinction.”
Their new home is the Taylor’s second building experience with Customkit. They built a live-in barn in 2010 while they planned for their permanent home. It’s now ‘home’ to another special part of the traditional theme - Ralph’s classic Mini collection - and is also his workshop. “We had a chance to ‘test drive’ the barn before we built,” says Ralph. “We made a point of waiting for a miserable cold day and then drove up to Pukekohe to see how the weather affected the noise. A metal barn would be cold and, with the pelting rain, unbearable... the Customkit barn was quiet, warm and inviting.” That helped seal the original deal and also provided the perfect home for his cars. As with many Customkit clients, the ability to shape the end-product to suit their unique needs was a real bonus and a point of difference to other housing companies. Both Cathy and Ralph had their list of ‘must haves’ to suit their day-to-day schedules. “We had a great deal of input,” says athy. “We started with one of their basic plans (the Sterling) but then made modifi cations to deliver exactly what we wanted. They listened to us and also gave
suggestions to add value to what we were considering.” Rather than the cathedral-like ceilings in the Sterling, they opted for a more conventional fl at ceiling with no portals, LVL or feature beams. This enabled a full- rafted roof upstairs with extensive dormers.
There’s a master bedroom and ensuite, and another room with access to the ensuite. The downstairs living area has a nook for relaxing in, and there’s a sewing room, offi ce, and two more bedrooms. The dining and living area open up onto a verandah on the northern and eastern sides of the house. The verandah roof projection is designed to give protection from the summer sun, and rain, but still allows the winter sun to light up the house. The Taylors went for a new plywood product called Triclad for the exterior. It offers a number of benefi ts over other board and batten products: it comes in longer sheets, and is pre-primed and pre-painted with the fi rst coat of paint. Battens can also be painted before being nailed up. Living in the country meant it made sense to Ralph and Cathy to go with a style that looked natural in the environment. “To build some sort of ultra-modern home wouldn’t suit the rustic look,” says Ralph. “This is a real area of specialisation for Customkit; comfortable, warm, well-built and classical.”