Category : NZ Period Homes

So many Cantabrians that had their houses written-off because of the earthquakes had replacement insurance policies. Almost without exception, everyone I’ve spoken to (and there would have been several hundred by now) have all said the same thing, “We have a replacement policy but our insurers are trying to show-horn us into something (cheaper) else or they tell us, “The materials are no longer readily available from the local merchants”.

We all know that by-in-large the native timbers are not available but achieving the same look and feel can easily (well takes a bit of effort but nice things are always like that) be replicated.

Example – They don’t build traditional archways like they used to – bull again.

The materials behind the paint in these photos is pinus radiata.

Shef-Int-20 Shef-Int-21

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh by the way, that although our head office is based in Masterton Moss Brothers have licensed reputable building firms to build our homes in Wellington/Hutt Valley, Kapiti Coast, Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Wairarapa, Canterbury and Auckland. At any stage you can have an obligation free chat with your closest one.

If you have any questions or comments please ask them using the Enquiry section of the website or phone on 06-370-2058.

Oh just one last thing, you have our permission to forward this or anything else by Moss Brothers on or share it with others that you think could benefit from this advice.

 

 

Replica Buildings Don’t Have To Cost The Earth

We’re often asked the question, “Why are Moss Brothers homes so much more expensive”? Of course we have to be very tactful in how we reply but we usually say, Compared to what”?

You may have read in our literature that we have a saying on costs and goes like this, “It doesn’t what you build or who you build with the equations is the same; size only impacts on price by about 25%”. Take a moment to think about that and by doing so we think you’ll appreciate what it means.

The damage is caused by the chosen fittings, fixtures, finishings, the degree of complexity and detail. We don’t set the price; you do by tell us what’s important to you. The house in this article cost just $1700.00 per sq m/2 and I think it’s a really good example of what is achievable if budget is limited. However we usually suggest not to allow for less than $2,200.00 per sq m/2, with the average Moss Brothers project being around $2,700.00 per sq m/2, with some projects even exceeding of $4,000.00 per sq m/2.

Kapiti-1

Did we set these higher figure? Of course not. The steps are; you start with a particular look in mind. You then describe the living spaces you need – number of bedrooms, bathrooms, living areas and decks etc. Next is discussed what’s import to you in the way of finishings. We then introduce budget and play around with the aforementioned to mould a package that works for you.

We unashamedly charge what we charge because when working with the detail that’s required in making a new house look old we seldom use industry-minimum materials. Most clients we work with are very demanding and that fine so long as they don’t mind paying for the people we need to employ to achieve the result they demand.

If you have any questions or comments please ask them using the Enquiry section of the website or phone on 06-370-2058.

Oh just one last thing, you have our permission to forward this or anything else by Moss Brothers on or share it with others that you think could benefit from this advice.

 

 

This article was provided by Mona Quinn of Callidus Architects.

Moss Brothers has a professional relationship with Mona. She specialises in the architecture to renovate and restore old NZ villas and bungalows etc whereby Moss Brothers designs and builds them new from scratch. Both options have pros and cons and both options appeal to different tastes and requirements. Anyway, here’s what Mona says are the some of the biggest mistakes made when renovating (if the link below gets lost email me at julian@moss-brothers.co.nz and I’ll forward it to you) :

First of all, a big thank you to Julian Moss, for inviting me to write this piece for his blog. Over the last year or so, Julian and I have had some great conversations around character villas and bungalows and found we share a mutual interest in these grand old ladies.

I love old buildings. I love that you can find a nook or comfortably lean against a column or perch on a corner molding whilst sipping a coffee, waiting for your friends or just observing life. If you have not noticed, look again. Observe how we slow down around old houses, stop, have a look and appreciate.

Hundred years on they still hold sway.

We are still immensely attracted to them. Character homes or villas/bungalows are still amongst some of the most popular house styles in our cities today. They continue to fetch higher prices when sold in the real estate market and people gush about them.? Let?s drive down such and such street ? it is so nice to come through this neighbourhood.

Old houses have a charm all their own.

The perennial struggle, however, is how to best live in them with our changing needs. Charm doesn?t always translate into liveability. Often we need to renovate them or even replace large parts of the existing built fabric to update these old villas and bungalows to suit our modern lifestyle.

Deciding to build or renovate is a big financial, emotional and time consuming investment. Make sure you have done the research, before you start digging.

For a free copy of our booklet outlining the most common mistakes people make when renovating click here or contact Julian.

Happy building!

Mona Quinn ? www.callidusarchitects.co.nz ? Character Renovation Specialists.

 

Restoring Or Renovating Old v Building New?

I’m often asked the question, “What are the main differences between restoring or renovating an old house and building a new replica”?

For a start neither are a cheap option although you can understand why some older houses up for removal appear to be a great option when the initial purchase price is considered. However, the main difference is, with a new build is you know what your costs are before you start. But when restoring or renovating an old house most often you don’t know your costs until it’s finished – this can be problematic. Of course in some instances the finish never comes and that’s generally because there were just too many hidden or unknown problems that don’t expose themselves until the building work has commenced.

This is the main reasons why most developers have covenants that prevent old houses being relocated into subdivisions – the reinstatement and restorations costs are so too high coupled with history that’s taught us that many just don’t get finished. The end result would mean angry neighbours because their investment has been devalued.

Even I just love the look of a beautifully restored old house and if this is what was consistently achieved than no one would mind. The other on-going things to consider are; old does have more character (generally) but new is almost maintenance-free in comparison, energy efficient (I remember being told by one enquirer who lived in an old homestead on a Hawkes Bay farm that sometimes the internal temperature was -1).

Of course I’m bias. This is because I’ve personally been involved in building projects for both options and I’ve lived in both options and love my new/old one. That is why I chose this career path – design and build new to look and feel old.

If you have any questions or comments please ask them using the Enquiry section of the website or phone on 06-370-2058.

Oh just one last thing, you have our permission to forward this or anything else by Moss Brothers on or share it with others that you think could benefit from this advice.

 

 

I had a phone call the other from a couple that renovated their house last year. I was asked what I believed had caused the joints in the weatherboards to swell up. Unfortunately this sort of thing is a result of the carpenters not taking enough care or not knowing.

Weatherboard Cuts Not Primed Properly

Weatherboard Cuts Not Primed Properly

Wooden weatherboards homes can look absolutely amazing, especially when trims are picked out in different harmonizing colours. Properly built and finished the paintwork should last at least 15 years before needing to be touched up or redone – properly means; reliant on the tradesmen follow some basic rules.

Firstly it’s critical that the moisture content of the boards supplied by the merchant does not exceed 15% when they arrive on site (and they are kept dry once there). Secondly, before the boards go anywhere near the house walls they should be checked to make sure there are no sharp or square edges (we call it arrising) along each board. Each board then receives a re-prime and 2 undercoats – remember this is before they are fitted to the walls.

And finally the tradesmen give each cut they make a very GENEROUS coating of primer so that it oozes out of the mitre or joint when fitted to the wall. Oh, of course boards must be nailed properly/correctly.

You may have noticed initially I blamed the carpenter then went on to say the merchant must supply the boards at the correct moisture content with all sharp edges removed. I then said that the boards must be pre-undercoated before being fitted. Personally I believe that the only person in a position to make sure these things happen is the carpenter or builder. It’s called ‘attention to detail’ and having an understanding and appreciation as to what will happen one or two years after completion when all of the tradesmen are long-gone.

If you have any questions or comments please ask them using the Enquiry section of the website or phone on 06-370-2058.

Oh just one last thing, you have our permission to forward this or anything else by Moss Brothers on or share it with others that you think could benefit from this advice.

 

 

Of course with houses build 100 or so years ago very few people had cars so therefore had very little need for a garage. However things have changed just a bit over this time and Moss Brothers is not in the business of replicating the layout and living requirements of that era, just the style and detail.

Today clients will choose how they wish to deal with vehicle garaging generally in one of two ways; they either want internal access (generally for security, protection from the weather and ease of unloading groceries etc into the house) or a separate garage because this detail is more sympathetic to period architecture.

When building with an internal access garage it’s always going to match the house detailing simply because it attached. However from my own personal point of view my preference is for separate buildings as with this kind of architecture the look of internal access garaging distorts what we are setting out in attempting to achieve.

However, because designing and building a replica does generally costs more to build the separate garage is often compromised – i.e. the garage and house are not consistent in architectural design. But there is a solution to place a cap on the cost of the garage and that is to just have the walls that are seen match the architecture of the house and the rear walls in something far more cost efficient.

In this photo the owner has elected to have weatherboards on the front elevations and corrugated colour-steel on the back. Simple, effective, low maintenance, easy, and cost effective.

Looks good but cost effective.

Looks good but cost effective.

If you have any questions or comments please ask them using the Enquiry section of the website or phone on 06-370-2058.

Oh just one last thing, you have our permission to forward this or anything else by Moss Brothers on or share it with others that you think could benefit from this advice.

 

 

I had a phone call the other day from the daughter of a couple we built a house for back in 2003. The daughter’s father had passed away a few years ago and her mother now wanted to sell the family home as it was just too big for her to manage.

The daughter said that they had a buyer for house but as a condition of the sale they had to supply a Code of Compliance Certificate (CCC). As the Auckland construction law specialist Geoff Hardy of law firm Madison Hardy explains, “The CCC concept was introduced under the 1991 Building Act, but it never fulfilled its promise, largely because there was no particular incentive for building owners to obtain the CCC, and no effective penalty if they didn’t. That tended to defeat the purpose of having CCCs in the first place, so in the 2004 Building Act the Government tightened up the rules.

“Now, building owners must apply for a CCC as soon as the project is complete. If they don’t apply within two years of receiving the building consent, the Council must do something about it. However the new rules don’t apply to building projects where the consent was issued before 31 March 2005 (which is when the 2004 Building Act came into force).”

To cut a long story short, it is the owner’s responsibility to apply for the CCC and although we supplied them all the information they required for the application (albeit back in 2003) they did not do it. Now the sale hinges on a mad scramble to organise this information and to apply to the council for a CCC.

The daughter said that the council experiences this a lot so I asked the daughter this question (which I think is reasonable but it was not appreciated), “When the house was first listed on the market did the real estate agent ask if a CCC had been issued”. No the agent did not ask this. As mentioned, it’s the owner’s responsibility to apply for the CCC and the builder has nothing to do with it so long as they have provided all of the documentation to the home owner in order for them to make the application.

If you have any questions or comments please ask them using the Enquiry section of the website or phone on 06-370-2058.

Oh just one last thing, you have our permission to forward this or anything else by Moss Brothers on or share it with others that you think could benefit from this advice.

Note: The quotations above in relation to the Building Act were sourced from an article written by Geoff Hardy of Madison Hardy – commercial and business law specialists based in Auckland. The article was originally published on their website at www.madisonhardy.com.

This is a replica of a 1930s bungalow. I apologise for the quality of the photography but it was taken using my phone the last time I was down there. We used a reputable local building firm (they are Registered Master Builders) which meant all of the goods and services were sourced locally.

Ayers-1

Initially the owners made a special trip to Masterton (location of our head office) to check us and our product out. They moved in to their new home at the end of 2013. Unfortunately my timing to meet them on site was out so, to date, I have no internal shots. The project cost in excess of $1.2m so as you can imagine a lot of the detailing is quite exquisite.

The building firm involved is licensed to Moss Brothers to carry out replicas of period and historic architecture throughout the greater Canterbury region. Therefore if you’d an obligation-free, no conditions apply meeting, a representative of this firm they can do this on our behalf.

If you have any questions or comments please ask them using the ‘Enquiry’ section of the website or phone on 06-370-2058.

Oh just one last thing, you have our permission to forward this or anything else by Moss Brothers on or share it with others that you think could benefit from this advice.

 

Great Looking Traditional Kitchens

The extractor is in the chimney

The extractor is in the chimney

With traditional-looking homes comes traditionally-looking Kitchen joinery. What we have done here is make the modern cooker look like it’s been inserted where there used to be an old coal-range. We have the joiner build a lightweight joinery cabinet to look like part of the internal section of the chimney, put a mantelpiece on the front, insert the extractor where the flue would have gone and, wallah – simple, attractive and effective.

If you have any questions or comments please ask them using the Enquiry section of the website or phone on 06-370-2058.

Oh just one last thing, you have our permission to forward this or anything else by Moss Brothers on or share it with others that you think could benefit from this advice.

I’m working on the landscaping at home and was wondering what sort of retaining wall would look good with a replica home and also roll with the contours of the land. Ah – A wall made of river-stones would be perfect.

The next challenge was to find the right tradesmen. I have employed a block-layer for many years who I knew had the skills for a stone wall but he was almost 70. Was he still up to it and was he available. Yes – he agreed to do the job and made a cracking start. However about half way though he disappeared – what had happened? It had become too much for him.

Stone Wall

Then on the way to the office I noticed another old tradesmen building a stone wall – fantastic. When I stopped to have a chat he said he could complete my wall but I’d have to wait as he had plenty of work and because he was 73 and therefore quite slow – bugger-me 73. Anyway I said I would help him and he said he would complete my wall for me. He’s just started so it’s good to see things moving again.

My point is; this kind of work is hard. It’s hard on the hands. It’s hard on the back. It’s very weather dependant – can’t allow the mortar to get wet. It doesn’t pay that well and the work is not that glamorous although the end-results look great. However, how many young stone-masons or block/brick-layers are being trained today? Not many I’d suggest.

This old tradesmen (remember he’s 73) told me today he has 12 months of work ahead of him. How many businesses can say that?

The building industry and the customer must have these trades-people but I can see the shortage going from bad to worse. Further to that they need to be skilled and motivated or else even more of our building projects will become disaster zones – like the leaky homes.

Another real problem – and don’t laugh because it is a problem as it happened to me. I remember when I was in my 20s and operating a small building firm as a sol-trader. During my early years of business and marriage and after working in the mud and with concrete all day I’d go home to a wife and want to enjoy a cuddle but the cry was, “Get those rough hands off me”. How does a frisky bloke deal with that?

Anyway, these old fellers started their careers when a trade was a good option. But nowadays we are told that a higher education is the only way most people can get ahead. Not only is that untrue but it’s not solving the problem. The fact is a motivated tradesperson can easily go on to build a multi-million dollar business who could earn more than a university professor. That means it’s all about attitude, belief, desire and persistence.  Other than that if you are looking to this article for an answer I’m sorry I don’t have one. I can only suggest that if the education system were to push the trades as a career option (don’t talk about the hands getting rough) and the industry pays more with better conditions things might change?

Soon I’ll post photos of the finished product – it’s starting to look fantastic.

If you have any questions or comments please ask them using the Enquiry section of the website or phone on 06-370-205

Oh just one last thing, you have our permission to forward this or anything else by Moss Brothers on or share it with others that you think could benefit from this advice.