Thames house

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Project Info

Design and Build: Terra Firma
Special features:

Project Description

We first met the owners in early 2019, just after they visited a rammed earth home that we built 20 years ago. This home was owned and occupied by their real estate agent and based on that they sought me out.

Their plan was to live in Thames, but they didn’t have land at that point so we helped them assess possible properties. They settled on a beautiful little valley, on two levels, nestled in the bush and surrounded by DOC land on the Northern fringe of the Thames township.

Unique to this site was its proximity to the first gold strike on the Coromandel. Because of this we required an inspection and report from an archaeologist with subsequently gave us the go ahead to build.

The building platform was a challenge due to the steep nature of the site, which meant we needed to build significant retaining walls to stabilize the platform. We did this work with active involvement from local contractors, who were a pleasure to work with. Once the platform was ready to build on in February of 2021, we were able to get stuck into the construction of the home. Progress was going smoothly until the August 2021 Covid 19 lockdown and border closures. This kept us away from the site for four months.

Our brief from the clients was to build a home with natural and sustainable materials to create a beautiful, timeless and healthy home. This retired couple also actively participated in construction work throughout the project as well as developing the landscaping of the site. This is something we encourage where possible.

This home has many of our regular or signature features like wooden joinery and cabinetry, enhanced oil finish concrete floor, poplar TG&V ceiling and plant based oil, wood stain and paint finishes.

Also of interest is that we invited the local council teams to visit this unique project, which they did. We had twenty people come through in two groups asking all kinds of questions relating to rammed earth. It was encouraging to see such enthusiasm and interest from the council consent processors and building inspectors.


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