Growing Home


‘Can Ollie come and play?’ Moments later, seven year old Ollie tears out of the house to shrieks of laughter and joins the boys from next door as they race off on their scooters. It was this, a family-centric development set amongst the rolling farmlands on the outskirts of West Auckland that Sarah and John Bell wanted.

They’d built before and enjoyed the process, but while they’d loved their big new house, now with a young family it was time to downsize and take a chunk off the mortgage. But that in no way meant compromising on design, function or quality. With a smaller floor plan, they got more creative and worked closely with Maddren to personalise their house plan and create a home they loved and that suited their growing family. A second living area that doubles as a fourth bedroom for sleep-overs, and a carpeted garage to serve as a messy-play area and venue for kids parties.

The local school with a roll of only 250 also added to the appeal for freelance Graphic Designer Sarah and Lighting Technician John and their children Ollie, and Nina, three. Relocating to the country suited their flexible work schedules and gave them the opportunity to not only reduce their mortgage, but provide a simpler way of life for their children to grow up in.

Taking that initial step to building their first house came about after renovating older houses and the constant need for installing ventilation and heating systems to keep their young family healthy. After that first build went so smoothly, they wished they’d done it sooner. With double glazed windows that retained the heat, paired with ducted ventilation to regulate the temperature, the house was warm and dry and the kids were healthier.

Energetic young children need plenty of space to play so expansive decking that flowed from the living area was a must-have for the kids but also for entertaining. The social aspect of the country community became the unexpected icing on the cake for Sarah and John. It wasn’t just having a new house in the country. They’d actually built into a growing development with other young families just like them, which made their house become a home.

Their neighbours with children became their friends, each looking out for the others children. And socialising together at neighbourhood street parties and BBQ’s soon became the norm. It’s the classic tale of country meets city; living a less chaotic lifestyle removed from the hustle and bustle, but with all the modern trappings and conveniences that a new home offers.

It’s great that these developments are designed with schools and shops around us that make it a community we want to live in.
— Sarah & John