Seeing Is Believing

Words by Irena Brooks and Nick Walker
Roger Richardson Roger Richardson

Sometimes, you just have to see for yourself.

Sentinel Homes’ first show home in Taranaki is one of those propositions. 

Because it has been designed as a living space, you have to stand in it to appreciate all that it offers. If you’re in the market for a new home you need to come and see what Andrew and Julia Kuriger have built.

“I love this.”

It’s a simple statement but one that sums up how much Andrew Kuriger and his wife Julia enjoy designing and building homes.

They own the Taranaki franchise for Sentinel Homes, and this year have built their first show home, at 27 Keene Drive in Bell Block (off Wills Road).

Their point of difference is design — while many building companies are owned by builders, Andrew has 23 years of industry experience as a Designer and Project Manager. He cut his teeth working for some of the best architects in New Plymouth, before stints with his own design firm, and as a project manager both in London and back home.

They also know the client side of building, having built three homes for themselves.

“I loved working in the architectural world but always wanted to be on-site seeing the project through to the finished product. Now with Sentinel Homes, we do the whole thing — from design to completion.

“The satisfaction level for me is so much higher.

“I appreciate good design and I’m also very practical.”

“Because Sentinel is a design and build company, we’re in touch with current build costs.” 

From the implementation of a design idea, through to pricing of materials, it’s a vital area where experience really shines.

“We  have wide knowledge of products available on the market — the range, quality, and affordability. All things that can affect the look and budget of a home.”

Reactions to the couple’s first show home have been “overwhelming” they say.

“We have been really thoughtful as to where we wanted to pitch our show home in the market,” says Julia. “People walk in and they just love this place. 

“We’ve had people come back multiple times to look through; bringing their family, parents, and  friends, which is a great compliment.”

FIRST SHOW HOME 

Located on a corner site, this pavilion-style house is a real illustration of what Sentinel are about: generous, stylish and functional. It’s a bright, warm home with an easy flow.

“It’s been really well thought through in terms of how it would work for a family,” says Andrew.

The idea of the show home is to demonstrate some of what Sentinel Homes can do. Andrew and Julia are targeting mid-market home buyers who want to focus on the little touches that make their  home personal and feel great to live in. 

On entering the Showhome the stark black exterior is instantly contrasted as you pass through the over-sized front door. The interior spaces are flooded with light and warmth. A 2.5m stud throughout makes the home feel spacious, which is enhanced by the addition of vaulted ceilings in the kitchen where light pours in through a bank of skylights and dramatic pendant lighting. 

With three bedrooms, two lounges, two and a half bathrooms, double-garaging, and outdoor living, there is a lot packed into its 212 square metre floor space.

The kitchen boasts acres of bench space … nine metres in total.

Strategically placed windows allow views of the garden while still allowing privacy from the neighbouring properties. 

The walk-through scullery has been a real highlight with clients. With an abundance of storage it is tucked away from sight but still well connected to the kitchen. A perfect spot for making your morning coffee as the early sun pours into this space.

OTHER BUILDS

Sentinel Homes really values the importance of designing a house to fit its surroundings. 

“We firstly want to understand the clients’ brief to make sure we can include all or as much of it as possible. Equally critical is seeing and knowing the site so that the design maximises all of its potential; for example getting the best out of your view and catching all day sun.” 

Our collaboration with the team at dsigna Concepts ensures all this and more is considered as designs are developed through to construction drawings.

Quality finishing is ensured through the network of local contractors who bring their own expertise and craftsmanship.

“We’ve got some really amazing builders and tradespeople who take pride in finishing things beautifully,” says Julia. “ It’s the pulling together of this wider team that means we can deliver exceptional results. We’re really proud of the people we work with and the work they do.”

“Each of our clients gets to work with an Interior Designer from Anna Major’s team at Haus of Design. We value their ability to give clients confidence in their selections and to pull materials, colours and fixtures together cohesively. 

“Anna has a stunning eye for detail which is evident in the styling of our show home.” . 

With the floor area of the average New Zealand home having decreased 21% in the last decade, it is a trend Andrew sees continuing as building prices increase and section sizes become smaller.

“Everybody wants good value for money but we encourage people not to fall into the trap of sacrificing design and quality for square meterage. There are better ways you can create space rather than just adding more square metres.”

“We love that we can offer people a bespoke design that will suit them and the site they are building on,” says Julia. “They don’t just have to take a cookie cutter design. We can start right from scratch for them. Our point of difference is that our clients get the benefit of talking to a  designer from the very beginning.”

WHAT’S NEXT?

The Keene Drive show home has been so successful the Kurigers are already thinking about their next show home.

“I don’t want to replicate what we’ve done here … I’d like to show something quite different,” says Andrew.

“I’d really like to do an urban design … we are seeing a lot more knock-down rebuilds, and townhouses. This is a market we enjoy. I like the challenge that tight site restrictions can bring.”

“I think we’re going to see more and more of them as land prices increase.”

The whole Sentinel team love what they do and work hard to make sure their clients enjoy the process of building a home with them.

“We’re proud of our end to end project management, up-front pricing, and clear communication which makes building a new home the exciting, enjoyable process it should be.

“We know what a great time this can be and love helping people through the adventure.”

SIDEBAR: Stratford Gold 

As far as pleasant surprises go, winning Gold in the Registered Master Builders House of the Year competition has to be right up there. 

Another Sentinel Homes build, this time a four bedroom family home in Stratford, had a night to remember at the awards in July. It was a regional category winner in the $450,000 – $600,000 bracket, won gold and made it into the Top 100 Homes nationally.

“I love the fact that it’s not a house we were grooming to enter into the awards — it wasn’t flashy, it was just well designed and beauitfully executed,” says Andrew . “The home works great for the client’s family — that’s what I’m most proud of.”

A generous home at 242m², it has four bedrooms, two bathrooms and two living areas. It was designed to be simple, modern and have plenty of space for kids, storage and entertaining.

It’s another prime example of the way Sentinel deliver stunning homes to suit clients’ needs.

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