Clever Ways to Maximise a Small Build Footprint

Words by  Emma Boyd
Kym Raubenheimer Kym Raubenheimer

With the cost of land higher than it has ever been, the squeeze is on for small, affordable, functional houses. Versatile New Plymouth’s latest show home boasts a bucketload of great ideas to make the most of a small section and get more out of a tight budget.

Maree Gush and Mike Bishell, owners of the Versatile New Plymouth franchise, have a lot to celebrate. In 2021 alone they were runner-up for Franchise of the Year and won a gold award for Home of the Year. 

They believe their success lies in ‘providing a high level of service and a high-quality finished product to our clients without the high price tag. 

“You see and feel the difference when you walk into our homes,” says Maree. “We take pride in going the extra mile, in providing that attention to detail that sets our homes apart and exceeds the expectations of our clients.” 

Building a network of tradespeople around them is invaluable to their success also. 

“All our subbies are from local businesses and we have put in the effort to grow and nurture these relationships. They are important to us and they form part of our well-oiled team.”  

The Versatile brand is now 50 years old and with it comes experience, knowledge and processes that are hard to beat. 

There is little doubt that building a home can be daunting but engaging with Versatile and Maree and Mike’s team means that clients are supported through every step of the process making it an easy and enjoyable experience. 

Clients typically engage with Versatile once they have purchased a piece of land.

The next step is to understand the constraints of the site, contours of the land and the direction in which it faces. 

Equally as important are the requirements and budget of the people building the home. 

Versatile has four ranges of designs to suit every lifestyle from retirees who are downsizing to those who are looking to build a larger home to accommodate their growing family. 

“No two homes will be exactly the same,” Maree emphasises. “We customise our standard plans to accommodate the constraints of a site, the needs of our clients as well as their budgetary requirements. We might add an extra bedroom to one home, or a garage to another. Every home is unique.”

One of the many advantages to building with Versatile is that they manage the consent process and deal with council, freeing up clients to focus on making their new home their own. Maree is quick to add that they are flexible in the ways that this process unfolds.

“Some clients are great when it comes to choosing paint colours, flooring and tapware. However others find the process overwhelming. We can connect clients to consultants who can advise and support them to choose everything from the internal and external paint colours to the landscaping and light fittings. We appreciate that this decision-making process can be challenging for some people and so can provide support to whatever degree is required.”   

For those curious to learn more about how the build process works and experience for themselves the quality and finish of a Versatile home then visiting their newly completed show home a stone’s throw from Waitara town is a must. Located at 13 Nukuroa Close, this example from their Metro Range showcases the clever details employed to effectively utilise the limited space of a small build footprint. 

The home has two bedrooms, one living area and one bathroom – which boasts a 1200 x 900mm alcove shower, adding an element of luxury to the space. 

The floor-to-ceiling windows and doors allow maximum light and help create desirable indoor/outdoor flow. Extra light is also introduced into the kitchen by way of a self-closing skylight, a clever addition to this compact home.

A Fujitsu air conditioning unit ensures warmth in the winter and coolness in the height of summer, while the generous garage provides space for off-street parking. 

Ready lawn and a planted border around the front of the house add softness and texture to the garden and the potted lavender provide year-round colour. 

Address: 13 Nukuroa Close, Waitara

Opening Hours: Thursday & Friday 12pm – 4pm

Saturday 10pm – 4pm 

Sunday 12pm – 4pm 


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