Blog

Thursday, July 26, 2018 - 11:15am

As well as designing and building homes from scratch, Signature Homes offers some inspiring pre-designed home plans. Find out if one of our plans might be right for you.

1. What is a house plan? 
A house plan is the design for a layout of a home. It doesn’t include any decor or materials and is more about providing a template for a style of living. Signature Homes offers a range of pre-designed house plans that you can choose from as a template for your dream home. Choosing the right plan will depend on a number of factors, such as the size of your family, the characteristics of your site and the things you love doing in your spare time.

2. Why build off a plan? 
House plans are a great way to understand how a home can be designed and laid out in different ways. It can also help speed up the design process if you find a plan you like that fits on your section. Many of our clients tell us they wish they had gone to our website before spending money with an architect because their ideal plan was already there! A plan is just a starting point, particularly with our Pacific Collection, where most clients choose to make some or many changes. Our clients have full control of every design aspect that goes into their home, from kitchen layout to flooring choices, tiling and paint colours, and every home we build is different, just as each of our clients 
is different. Whether it’s adding extra space in the garage for the boat or rearranging the kitchen cupboards, it’s all up to you. 

3. What makes Signature Homes’ plans special?
Our plans have been tried and tested by our clients. Many of them started as custom designs that have proven popular with other families. We have built thousands of homes across New Zealand so we know what works, and our teams across the country are in touch with local trends, which means we have lots of choices available.

Dreaming of a butler’s pantry? We have them. Want your kids’ bedrooms close to the master bedroom? We’ve got it. Want the kids’ bedrooms at the other end of the house? No problem! We regularly review our plans and designs to ensure we are keeping them fresh and up to date with current trends. We also work closely with our suppliers to ensure
we get the best and latest materials and products to go into all our homes. 

4. How do I know what plan is right for me? 
Our New Home Consultants are experts at finding the perfect home for you. They’ll get to know you, your interests and lifestyle, where you see yourself in the next five to 10 years, and so on, in order to find you the right living solution. We also recommend you visit one of our showhomes or take a virtual tour online. This is the best way to see how a plan works in real life, as well as the quality of the build. 

Building a home isn’t easy and the process is different for each and every home we build. The one thing that’s always the same is we are with you from the first point of contact right through to handing over the keys, so we go on the journey together.

5. What does a house built from 
a plan include?

Whether you build using one of our plans or we design you a home from scratch, you will be provided with what we call a Total Cost To Build. This will include everything you need to move into your home once we hand over the keys. All aspects of the design, consents, construction and internal fixtures and fittings of your home are included in this estimate. So when you sign a build contract, you’ll be receiving everything you need to move in. On some sites, such as steep sections or reclaimed land, there may be additional engineering requirements and costs, and these can’t be fully determined until we start work on the site. In most cases we are able to provide an estimate for the siteworks so we can determine how much of your budget is required for your siteworks, and what budget you have available for the build. 

6. Can I customise parts of my plan such as the kitchen layout? 
Yes! We provide a variety of experts for you to consult at different steps in the design process. We have a number of local and national suppliers who can help with different parts of the home such as kitchen layout, interior design choices and bathrooms, plus our New Home Consultants and in-house designers are with you every step of the way to help with these big decisions. 

7. Will it cost extra to make changes to my plan? 
This depends on what the changes are and at what part of the journey the change is made. We have pricing on some plans to provide guidance for our clients so if you change those plans, sometimes this can impact the cost of building the home, but we are completely transparent throughout the process. We have systems in place to show how any changes can impact the cost for everyone so there are no nasty surprises down the road. 

8. Which are the most popular Signature Homes plans?
Out of our four collections we have a number of popular homes that get lots
 of hits on our website. From our Design & Build homes, the Tamahere 
is popular, as is the Karaka and the two- storey Wellesley. In our Pacific Collection, four-bedroom designs with two or three bathrooms, a double garage and a butler’s pantry are popular, and we have a number of plans that fit the bill including the Sandy BayTafua and Rakino. Our Aspiring Collection was driven by the trend towards open-plan spaces and smaller footprints, and this new collection is seeing a lot of interest. Our Smart Collection is our most efficient in terms of cost and has several options under 200 square metres; our most popular plans are HeronWeka and Kahu

9. Can Signature Homes help me draw up my own plans?
Absolutely. Signature Homes started in 1983 as a house design and build company, and we still work with in-house designers 
to create unique homes to suit our clients’ budgets. We found many clients were asking for similar styles of homes, so took our most popular plans and turned them into plan collections to make it easier for families to start with a template, then add their personal touch. However, custom design and building is still a big part of our business, as some sites require an architecturally designed home, and many clients have unique needs. We take a holistic approach to the design process and keep our clients involved and engaged at every step of the journey. 

10. What are the most exciting trends you’re seeing in house design? 
We are seeing a lot of changes in what people are looking for in a new home. In Auckland there is a growing need for two-storey and terraced homes with efficient design for smaller sections. We are also getting a lot of requests from clients looking to add extra living spaces and kitchenettes, sometimes to accommodate parents continuing to live with the family, children living at home for longer, and people looking for additional income. As the kitchen has become the heart of the home, we have seen more floor space given over to this area, and we don’t build many homes without a butler’s pantry of some description. Similarly, ensuites and bigger master wardrobes are becoming must-haves for our clients. With an evolving focus on devices and entertainment, we are also designing more and more work stations in living areas and media rooms or versatile spaces that can be closed off through the use of sliding doors.

To find out more about our Signature plans, click here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018 - 12:15pm
Nude natural flooring in a Signature Home

The best flooring fades into the background while making our homes a joy to live in. Check out our top flooring trends, as well as the wide range of durable and modern options.

1. Nude natural (above image)
Inspired by the Scandinavian trend, this look is all about stripped-back simplicity, pale wood tones and clean whites. The appearance of white-washed wood is ideal for floors, either hardwood, laminate or vinyl. Natural fibres add warmth and texture, and greenery creates a connection to nature.

 


2. Deep blue
Cool grey and deep blue flooring can create a stunning contrast with warm wood, as well as adding depth to rooms with good natural light. Consider a stone-look laminate and use rugs and soft furnishings to make the coolness feel cosy.

 


3. Light & white
Black is back and contrast is king! This striking look is bold and modern, and very light or white flooring stops it from becoming too heavy. White tiles are always on trend and very pale wood effects add the lightest hint of texture and nature in sleek spaces.

 


4. Warm wood
Rich timber and polished wood are always timeless in the home. The heritage feel of chestnut, oak, mahogany and native timbers is ideal in houses with a traditional look and feel. Hardwood floors, vinyl tiles and even laminate all offer amazing options if you love walking on wood.

 

"The appearance of colour can change in different environments, so it’s important to view your chosen sample under daylight and artificial light before making your final decision. And remember; darker colours can make a room appear smaller, whereas lighter colours can create a sense of spaciousness." Cavalier Bremworth.

TYPES OF FLOORING

CARPET
Soft and cosy, you can’t go past carpet for warmth, price, beauty and durability.

HARDWOOD
A pricier choice, hardwood is long-lasting, timeless and always beautiful.

VINYL
The ideal choice if you’re looking for a specific look on a more modest budget.

STONE & TILE
Marble, travertine and mosaic effects without the costly price tag.

LAMINATE
All the beauty and tonal variety of wood with the toughness of laminate.
 
Which flooring is best for which part of your home?

LIVING

Carpet is ideal for relaxing on, but if your living area flows out to a deck, use tough hardwood or vinyl, then add rugs for the snuggle factor.
 
KIDS’ AREA
Vinyl flooring is tough, easy to clean and comes in heaps of cool colours.
 
KITCHEN
Tiles are beautiful but take a lot of cleaning – vinyl and laminate look great and can withstand anything you throw, spill or drop.
 
BATHROOM
Tiles, tiles, tiles.
 
HALLWAY
High-traffic areas such as hallways can get noisy – a warm, durable carpet is the best choice.
 
GARAGE
Carpeting in garages is the norm these days, even under the car. Tough garage carpet will also provide a good surface for your home gym.

 

This article was originally featured in Signature Style Magazine, Issue 4. Click here to order your free copy.
 

Friday, June 15, 2018 - 11:30am
Pendant lights in a Signature Homes Design and Build

Lighting is integral to creating a warm and inviting yet practical home. Drawing up a lighting plan is the best way to ensure all your lighting needs are covered, from cooking up a storm to chilling out.

Types of Lighting


Pendants
These hanging lights are designed to make a statement, as well as illuminate, so are ideal for lighting your entryway, kitchen island or dining table.


LEDS
These versatile lights are the future due to their high energy efficiency. LED strips can be mounted almost anywhere and make great downlights in kitchens, bathrooms and hallways. LED lights are also often colour-changing so you can customise the tone of light in a room (warm or cool) or switch to full-on disco mode.


Recessed
Small lights inset into your ceiling are wonderful for low-profile illumination that won’t disrupt the flow of your space. These types of lights are often the foundation of a lighting plan and can be combined with spotlights, pendants and task lighting to provide all the different types of light you’ll need in your home.


Wall sconces
Wall-mounted lights may not be as modern as LEDs or come in as many different types as pendants but this more traditional form of lighting still has its place in the modern home. Wall lights combined with dimmer switches are great for creating a more moody feel – think dimming the lights for a movie night or special dinner for two.

Other types of Lighting fixtures

Ceiling

These lights offer general illumination and will be required all over the home, but especially in areas that need good visibility, such as the kitchen and bathroom.

Desk & Table
Lamps for reading, studying or hobby work are always handy and can be swapped out when you need a style update.

Track Light
Ideal for spotlights that will illuminate task work in zones such as the dining table and laundry.

Floor Lamps
Standing lamps are super versatile and can create a real statement. Choose a secondhand lamp or curvy brass lamp for a vintage feel.

Outdoor
Lighting your garden and entry areas well will make your home more secure, as well as more stylish. Consult a specialist for ideas on lighting your home’s exterior.

ENERGY SAVING TIPS
Here are a few easy ways to choose lighting that will lead to lower energy costs and a happier planet:
  • Recessed downlights have a narrow beam so you’ll need a large number to provide even light, resulting in higher energy consumption. These lights can also compromise your home’s ceiling insulation and thermal comfort, resulting in higher heating bills. To mitigate these drawbacks, choose modern LED downlights that are rated IC, IC-F or IC-4. They can have compatible insulation fitted over them to keep the heat in and offer lower lighting costs.
  • The ‘flood’ effect of surface-mounted ceiling and pendant lights means they light large spaces easily, so you won’t need many. Fit them with energy-efficient LED bulbs for low lighting costs.
  • Dimming your lights can help cut down your electricity bill and increase the life of your bulbs. If you dim a bulb by 50 percent, you can make 50 percent energy savings.
  • Pale-coloured walls and furnishings help to maximise natural light by providing a reflective surface. Skylights and solar-tube-type fittings increase natural light and therefore reduce lighting costs.

For more energy saving tips visit energywise.govt.nz

This article was originally published in Signature Style Magazine, Issue 4. Click here to order your free copy.


 

Friday, June 15, 2018 - 10:45am
10 Questions about your House & Land

Whether you’re looking to demolish, subdivide or start fresh on a brand-new section, Signature Homes can help you find the perfect solution.

1| What is a house and land package?
House and land packages are created when a company such as Signature Homes secures land from a developer or property owner and matches the land with a home design perfect for the section. The company then finds the right buyer for the section, works with them to personalise the home to their tastes, then manages the consent process and project manages the build. It’s an easy, secure way to buy a new home.

2| What makes Signature a great provider of house and land packages?
There are lots of house and land packages out there but Signature Homes offers a service unique for its guaranteed outcome.

“We give people transparency and surety of costs,” says Brad Hay, National Sales Manager for Signature Homes. “Where possible, we offer our customers a firm and final price that we can go to contract with, as per our advertisement.”

3| Where in New Zealand can I purchase a house and land package?
Signature Homes has House & Land packages available from Northland to Otago and pretty much everywhere in between. We have worked with developers to find great sections, then match each section with the perfect house plan to suit its climate, topography and orientation to the sun – all you need to do is add your personal touch.

4| Can Signature Homes help me demolish my home and build fresh?
Yes! If you are thinking of removing or demolishing an existing dwelling, you have many different options to choose from (see the Knock Down & Rebuild home on page 36 of Signature Style magazine, Issue 4). You can knock down the old house and build the home of your dreams, or build two, rent one and live in the other, or simply sell one or both. The Signature Homes Knock Down & Rebuild service offers expert guidance on all aspects of your project. Signature will manage the project for you and guide you through the process every step of the way.

5| Can Signature Homes help build my dream home from existing plans?
Signature Homes has been building houses across New Zealand since 1983, and can build from architectural drawings or plans that you have drawn up for your new home. We will work with you to ensure your home is built to plan and on budget. Quantity Surveyors are on hand to price up your plans prior to construction, and a Guaranteed Completion date will be set.

6| How long will it take for my house to be ready for moving day?
From the date of signing the contract, your Signature home can be ready in approximately 40 weeks, depending on the complexity of your build and time for the consent process.

7| What will I need to do to move in?
Signature Homes can provide all utility connections as part of the service. Any changes of address are facilitated on your behalf and ensuring a stress-free move from your existing property to your brand-new home is our priority.

8| Can Signature Homes help find the perfect home and section for my family?
If you’ve decided a Signature Homes House & Land package is right for you but can’t see an existing home on our website that suits your needs, we can help. Our expert team can help you find the perfect piece of land and take you through the process of selecting and building a home to suit you and your family.

9| I love my existing house but want to subdivide. Can Signature Homes help?
Subdividing and building on your property can be a great option, potentially offering very good financial rewards. However, the subdividing process can be complex and time-consuming, with consents, hidden costs, council restrictions and planning regulations just a few aspects of the project that will need to be considered. And all of that comes before a new home is built on the site! Signature Homes has created a one-stop solution we call Subdividing Services. This streamlined service puts together a number of specialists to guide you through the process of subdividing from start to finish. Our team will also be able to give you a much clearer idea of the costs involved to complete your project.

10| I live in Auckland and am worried about how the Unitary Plan might affect me. Can Signature Homes help?
We are the Auckland Unitary Plan experts and can give you a quick and easy assessment of what could be possible on your property.

This article was originally published in Signature Style magazine, Issue 4. Click here to request your free copy.

Thursday, May 17, 2018 - 1:00pm

Easy, relaxed elegance and a breezy colour palette are the key elements to coastal chic. If you want your home to have understated style and oodles of natural light so you feel like you’re on holiday all year around, this could be the style for you. More relaxed than a traditional Cape Cod or Hamptons house, coastal chic has a charm that is uniquely Kiwi.

Details to consider:
•    Weatherboard exterior cladding in white, grey or blue
•    Gable roof
•    Raked interior ceilings
•    Open plan spaces
•    White, grey or cool blue interior walls combined with natural details such as wood and stone
•    Bespoke or repurposed elements that give character
•    Panelling detail on walls, kitchen cupboards and interior doors
•    Natural handmade textures such as rattan and linen.
•    Plantation shutters or airy, draped curtains
•    Skylights
•    Pendants or chandeliers that blend in rather than drawing the eye.


Coastal chic flat lays by Jacqui at Twill Design

 

Flat lays are all over the internet, and they're a great interior design tool. When creating each room, you and your Signature colour consultant will pull together colours and textures to create a mood board. The flat lay is a photograph you can take of your mood board taken from above, to capture the essence of the room.

“When pulling together a scheme, balance is king! It’s a constant process of viewing the colours and textures objectively, and visualising them en-masse. Imagine viewing the space from all angles, and in different lights. A favourite saying of mine is “Good Design is Invisible”. Jacqui Mitchell, Twill Interiors.

 

The key architectural feature of a Coastal Chic home is airy, open rooms with lots of natural light and an easy flow between indoor and outdoor spaces.

Suggested plan: Caroline, Pacific Collection
Signature Example: Papamoa showhome