Monday, August 19, 2019 - 8:15am

Our Signature Homes Waikato team was recently commissioned to create a stunning studio guesthouse in Hamilton- akitō studio.

akitō in Māori is ‘to be slow’. This is a place to take time out for yourself and enjoy the surroundings.


Sleek and stylish with lush gardens, it is the perfect place for a quiet getaway. It has been cleverly designed with polished concrete floors, clean lines, careful placement of custom furnishings and is taking Airbnb by storm.


Erena, the brains behind akitō studio, is a married Mum of two and a stylist by trade. Rearranging spaces and making a house a home is a true gift of Erenas. She is a self-described “upcycler by nature” and has a real knack for finding second-hand pieces and reworking them – a trait she picked up from her grandmother, who used to volunteer at the local Op-Shop.


Erena is known for her earthy, elegant, minimal style. “I tried to stick to light colours and furniture that wasn’t too bulky to help give it a sense of light and space,” she says and describes the studio as “a little bit Trade Me, a little bit custom, a little bit treat yo'self and a lot ME”.

The project came about after a classic case of “buying a house that needed more work than we imagined and more money than we could afford” and so the idea of transforming the least-used space into something that was beautiful yet could offer some form of return on investment was born.


The brief to the Signature Homes team was "concrete floors, bare white walls...think art gallery". It was the best way to describe a blank canvas and that was what Erena was going for; a large open-plan space that could suit many styles but most of all would provide flexibility down the line and when it came to picking the furnishings she wanted the overall feel to be clean and modern with a resort-feel. 

Imagine soaking in a large outdoor tub with views across the gully, a sweeping bed and a beautiful, relaxing vibe, that’s exactly what you get. Clean lines and contemporary furniture create a calming aesthetic while large windows, lush gardens, and that alfresco bathtub make the most of indoor-outdoor living.


“I think there is always someone out there looking for something a bit special” said Erena.

Design & Styling by Erena Te Paa / Photography by Kirsty Dawn

If you have been thinking of designing your dream home or your dream getaway then contact your local Signature Homes team, they are experts in design and build plus your home will be backed by the best guarantees in New Zealand. 

If you would love to stay at akitō studio, book via Airbnb, and for more inspo follow akitō studio on Insta. 

To see more of Erena's home and styling visit her website

Tuesday, August 6, 2019 - 1:30pm

Milldale is New Zealand's newsest and largest development with 3,500 homes planned. There are some very good reasons why this part of Auckland has become such a popular place to live. Its proximity to a coastal lifestyle and Auckland CBD means you can have the best of both worlds. Coupled with the most modern amenities a new development can provide, Milldale has everything on its doorstep.



  • Situated just 25 minutes north of Auckland City, Milldale is located directly opposite Millwater to the west of State HIghway 1
  • Bordered by Wainui Rd and the Orewa River to the north, and Pine Valley Rd and the Weiti River to the south, Milldale is a gently undulating valley that is drenched in northerly sun
  • Residents are just minutes from Silverdale village and retail centre, including a range of cafes, restaurants and bars, recreational and medical facilities
  • Milldale is in zone for a range of public and private schools catering for children of all ages. A new pre-school, to be built by Signature Developments, has recently received resource consent and a primary school is also planned

Properties cater for a wide variety of lifestyles, including first home buyers, growing families or those wishing to retire in style

  • If work takes you away from the rapidly growing retail, commercial or industrial zones in nearby Silverdale and Highgate, then easy access to motorways north and south is a bonus
  • Access to the North Shore and Auckland city is supported by an ever expanding public transport service


  • The coastal lifestyle with its variety of beaches nearby brings all the pleasures of the outdoors right to your doorstep
  • Take a walk or bike ride around the estuary, a round of gold in Wainui, or enjoy athletics, football or rugby at nearby clubs
  • Northern Arena, Snowplanet and Silverdale Adventure Park are just moments away


Be the first to secure your place in Milldale, offering easy access to all the amenities a busy urban life demands, providing the option to live, work and play in your own backyard, because everything's right here!

Have you ever though of investing in a showhome? We currently have two investment opportunities available in Milldale:

If you would like to speak to our team about your options in Milldale please contact us on 0800 488 828 or email You can find our friendly New Home Consultant details here

Thursday, August 1, 2019 - 1:00pm

Whether you’re building a small two-bed cottage or a designer homestead, find out everything you need to know about financing and pricing your new home.


1. How much does it cost to build a Signature home?

Our Pacific and Smart Collection homes have price guidelines and all plans are available to view here. However, every family is different and the perfect home for you may require tweaking or different consents from your local council. There are also regional differences for building homes, based on Building Code requirements for the region, and every section is also different and requires various site works that will impact the total cost to build. The great thing is that once you’ve moved through our design process, you will know exactly how much your Signature home is going to cost upfront prior to signing a build contract, and that price is guaranteed.

2. What deposit do I need to build a Signature home?

You can build your own Signature home with as little as 5 percent* deposit. Due to the security and reliability of Signature Homes’ market-leading guarantees, Sovereign Home Loans (part of ASB Bank and the backers of NewBuild Finance) can offer Signature Homes clients their specialised home-loan services for building a new home through NewBuild, specialists in construction finance. Visit NewBuild and use the Home Loan Qualifying Calculator to find out if you are eligible. 

3. What is construction finance?

Construction Finance is similar to a mortgage but is used to fund the building of a home. There are different progress payment schedules and conditions which can be negotiated with a specialist construction finance lender or your bank, and each lender’s offering is slightly different. Because a new home build is built over a period of time you should only ever pay for work once it has been completed at pre-agreed stages of the build. This ensures the builders get paid regularly (progressively) through the build and also that you only draw down funds as required. Once the build is completed and the final payment is made the end sum is then generally moved into a standard mortgage arrangement. It’s best to discuss your options with your bank or broker as our clients often negotiate their lending depending on what they can afford, to continue to pay rent or the mortgage on an existing home.


4. Can I afford a Signature home as my first home?

House-and-land new-builds are exempt from the New Zealand Reserve Bank’s Loan-to-Value Restrictions (LVR), which means first-home buyers can obtain finance with a smaller deposit than the 20 percent typically required. Paul Bull, CEO of Signature Homes, thinks home and land packages are a great option for first-home buyers. “That’s a home that is built to modern building standards,” he says. “It’s well insulated, dry and warm and all the electrics are new – that means lower electricity bills, healthier homes and healthier families.”

If you have been a KiwiSaver member for three years or more you may be able to withdraw some of your savings to put towards your new build with KiwiSaver's First Home Withdrawal and you may even be entitled to KiwiSaver's HomeStart Grant. 

5. Can I pay rent and pay the loan for my new home at the same time?

This depends on your financial situation, however while banks generally require a minimum 20 percent of an existing property’s value as a deposit, that requirement may be much lower for new builds. One thing to remember is that you pay for your new home as it is being constructed, so you aren’t paying for the full amount of the build during the construction of the home, and the payment schedule is laid out in the building contract so you can plan for the payments as they come up throughout the project. If you would struggle with making construction loan repayments and rent at the same time, then NewBuild Home Loans offers a construction loan where you don’t need to start your mortgage repayments* until you move in. This is also why Signature Homes gives a Guaranteed Completion Date soon after the build contract is signed, so you can discuss your funding needs with your bank or broker and plan ahead for things like selling an existing property or moving out of your rental.

6. How much do all the added extras cost?

As part of the work we carry out to provide you with a comprehensive quote and to ensure you get everything you want in your new home, the Signature Homes design team will consult with you to finalise important details regarding design, claddings, colours, fixtures and fittings. At your request, we have expert interior designers and colour consultants on hand to provide assistance. Once the detailed price and design work has been completed, the fixed-price quote, specifications and final drawings will be presented to you for sign-off. These documents will include detail about exactly what your new-home investment will be, along with a comprehensive list of everything that is included.


7. How do I know the quoted price of my home is accurate?

We have been building homes for Kiwis since 1983 and we believe we have a responsibility to provide clients with a quote based on facts, not guesswork. In order to reduce the risk of price escalation prior to signing a building contract, Signature Homes will request a small investment from you for our Plan Deposit Service – generally one percent of the build. This investment is there for your protection as it allows Signature Homes to thoroughly investigate every single cost that is likely to be incurred during the construction of your new home (including an estimate for site works, landscaping and decorating), before you commit to building with us. By signing a build contract, the amount you invest in the Plan Deposit is deducted from the final cost of your home should you decide to proceed, and is often less than you would pay for a similar service with an architect.

8. Can I keep my existing home as well as building a Signature home?

Banks often won’t use equity from an existing home to fund a new home loan, which doesn’t work for clients who want to keep their current home as an investment or keep it long enough to avoid needing to move their family twice. In the right circumstances your broker or bank may be able to fund up to 100 percent of the land and build using only equity in the existing home. With NewBuild any rental income on the existing home can be used to offset the loan. The NewBuild approach also allows an investment property to be 100 percent geared for tax purposes. Banks are normally unable to do this for a new home.

9. What guarantees cover me when I buy a Signature home?

Our Comprehensive Guarantee Programme offers you total peace of mind during the build process. This programme includes our exclusive Home Completion Guarantee, which provides 100 percent protection on any payments made during construction of your home. 

10. Are there any hidden costs or fees I should budget for?

In short, no! There won’t be any unexpected costs or charges after you’ve signed the contract on your new home, unless you make any changes after the contract has been signed. If you do make changes, we work with you to understand any impacts those changes will have on the cost of building your home. As part of our work to provide you with a comprehensive quote and ensure you get everything you want in your new home, the Signature Homes design team will consult with you to finalise important details regarding design, claddings, colours, fixtures and fittings. These costs will all be included in the final price in your Build Contract.

*- Lending and credit criteria and conditions apply.

To learn more about the Signature Homes building journey you can view our series of videos or order your brochure here

Wednesday, July 17, 2019 - 3:15pm

Building from scratch can seem daunting. Doing it yourself requires massive amounts of time dedicated to project management, coordinating the expertise of architects, engineers, builders, plumbers, electricians, tilers, interior designers… and the list goes on.

The thought is enough to turn most people off the idea before they have seriously considered what it entails and done any due diligence.

If this is true for you, you may wish to reconsider by looking at the professional Design and Build service offered by Signature Homes.

Signature Homes Design and Build does all the hard work for you. Our team works alongside you to create your ideal home from scratch (or plans if you already have them), engaging all the necessary experts and managing the entire project from start to finish.

You are guaranteed a beautiful, modern, sustainable home, designed exactly to your specifications, and finished on time and on budget. Our team have been creating Design and Build homes since 1983, so we have a wealth of experience. We stake our reputation on making your dreams come true. The level of your involvement is entirely dependent on you.

If you only have general ideas about the style of home you want, our team can inspire your inner creativity, enabling you to make the choices that best reflect who you are. Our architects and designers are the best in the business and will guide you through every step of the process, making recommendations about what will best suit your lifestyle. Then we take total charge of all the complicated logistics of a build.

You may not know exactly what you want, and that’s absolutely fine. Our experts are highly experienced in creating architectural homes to fit individual lifestyles. We regularly work on challenging sites, where a design is needed to fit the landscape and make the most of a property’s unique quirks and aspect. Our team will make all the recommendations to ensure your involvement is exciting, never stressful.


When you have decided on a Signature Homes Design and Build, a guaranteed price will be set and when the slab goes down we will give you a Guaranteed Completion Date. It means you go into the process with total piece of mind, knowing you can plan for your future with certainty. You simply do not need to worry about cost blow outs or building delays.

Our Signature Homes Guarantees include:

  • Signature Homes Home Completion Guarantee
  • Signature Homes 10 Year Weather Tightness Guarantee
  • Signature Homes 10 Year Structural Guarantee
  • Signature Homes No Hidden Extras Guarantee
  • Signature Homes Fixed Price Contract Guarantee
  • Signature Homes 2 Year Maintenance Guarantee
  • Signature Homes Completion Date Guarantee
  • Signature Homes Satisfaction Guarantee


A common misconception is that a Design and Build is prohibitively expensive. This is not the case. Often extensive renovation work to an existing property can be comparable in price – but without the benefit of getting a final result that is everything you have ever dreamed of. Talk to one of our Signature Homes team members and you may be pleasantly surprised at how far your dollar will go.

No compromises

When you Design and Build you have the truly unique opportunity to create the perfect home for your family. This is the one time in your life when you will be able to create something just for you and your family, reflective of who you are and what you love. Your house will be architecturally designed, with a team of highly experienced tradespeople, builders and designers working together to create your perfect home.  


We only work with the very best suppliers, which means you are guaranteed that your home will be constructed with the highest quality materials and made to withstand the toughest climate and weather conditions.


We want this process to be one you will remember fondly for the rest of your life. Our experts do all the heavy lifting for you, managing the details and logistics, leaving you free to enjoy the experience and get on with living your life.

Your home is where you spend most of your time. It should work perfectly for you, complementing who you are and making you feel at ease, relaxed and happy. Design and Build is simply an outstanding way to achieve something special that will last a lifetime.

Check out our current Design and Build gallery for some inspiration and take the plunge by getting in touch with one of our experts HERE for a no obligation chat. 


Thursday, June 27, 2019 - 2:00pm

There has been a lot of talk in the media lately regarding kitset homes, so we've summed up the top 5 things to consider when looking at a kitset home. It is important to realise that it is highly unlikely that you could build a comparable kitset home cheaper, or to a higher standard, than a reputable builder can build you a new home (unless you have the relevant expertise).

Consider these factors before you start:


You will be solely responsible for ensuring the home meets all council and building code requirements and the on-going structural and weatherproofing obligations- even if you’ve sold the home! You are also responsible for health and safety on site, and for ensuring that the home is granted a Code Compliance.


For any work you are not planning on doing yourself, you will need to get quotes from, and then manage all sub-trades. These may include builders, plumbers, electricians, plasterers, bricklayers, roofers, drain-layers, carpet installers, kitchen installers, insulation installers, tilers etc., ensuring they arrive on site at the appropriate time- this takes careful coordination, even if you are not in a hurry. You will need to make sure that their work is up to both your expectations and building code requirements.


Make sure you are certain of exactly what is included in your kit and what other items and labour will need to be paid before the building is complete. The financial implications could be serious if you fail to understand the extra costs that are involved. Typically, the cost of a kitset home only covers materials used above the foundations.


Some people fall into the trap of buying a kitset, then contracting the kitset company to build the home for them, thinking this will save them money. This is the same process you follow when employing a building company to build a home for you, except you won’t necessarily have the same level of service, or the same quality assurances.


Signature Homes are able to provide you with a range of expertly crafted pre-designed plans, providing the perfect foundation to guide you towards building the home of your dreams. Our Smart Collection offers modest yet modern havens or our Pacific Collection gives you a flexible and functional luxe family home. If you are struggling to find land to build on then a House & Land package may be the answer

Once you have selected that perfect plan, which embodies the needs for your new home, we will help turn your dreams into reality through our up-front and honest build process. We will also provide you with peace of mind through our comprehesive guarantees

Knowledge and expertise go along way when building a new home. Signature Homes has over three decades in the game so we can help you pick out the perfect design and match it with the perfect construction team to suit your needs. When you build with Signature Homes your local team are with you every step of the way.