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.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019 - 4:15pm

Until a few years ago, Andrew and Emma were living in a farm cottage of about 60sqm. With the arrival of son Franco, they quickly outgrew the modest dwelling. “We decided we wanted somewhere we could live for a long time and where our kids could grow up,” says Andrew.

Open-plan living was a must for family gatherings and the eye-catching exterior was something they agreed on early. “It had to be black and it had to be balanced.”


Andrew and Emma opted for a Design & Build home, rather than a predesigned plan, and put their heads together with a Signature Homes in-house designer to create exactly what they wanted for the right price. The finished product, dubbed Tamahere, is now available as part of Signature’s Design & Build Collection and can be customised to suit location, lifestyle and budget.

The couple still have plans to add their dream landscaping and there’s talk of building a smaller home of about 70sqm next door. “It’s something people are doing as a way to accommodate family,” says Andrew. “Others are looking at building for Airbnb, especially in beach and rural areas.”


Spacious, light and airy, the family-friendly home enjoys great flow. Devised with entertaining in mind, the spacious open-plan kitchen, living and dining area rests under a high raking ceiling. Extensive glazing keeps the space open to the outdoors. “Having a home with big windows was really important,” says Emma. “Living on the farm and having outside coming in and vice versa. It’s tranquil.”

Glazed bifold doors link the open-plan to the portico – the perfect place to enjoy a meal while watching farm life pass by. The second lounge, as well as the master and guest bedrooms all open to the outdoors.


A perfect balance of social spaces, functional utility areas and quiet retreats, the home is arranged in a loose H-shaped layout. The left-hand wing houses the master sanctuary with walk-in wardrobe and ensuite, plus laundry, garage and workshop. The right-hand wing houses two children’s bedrooms, a family bathroom, separate toilet and guest room. Living spaces dominate the central volume.

The kitchen is a key feature. The couple originally intended to add barn doors to the scullery, but they liked the way it allowed the cook to socialise, so they left it open.


“A classic relaxed feel with a bit of glam.” That’s how Emma describes the home’s light, chic interior design, which makes use of lots of linen and warming wood. A neutral palette of whites and greys is elegant yet simple. The decor is in tune with both a love of entertaining and relaxed family life. “Our lives are so busy, I wanted to come home and be able to really relax and enjoy it.”


They couple chose painted cedar cladding and corrugate roofing. “We wanted the linear look, and the cedar is random widths which gives variance,” says Andrew.

While there’s only one fireplace inside, a trio of chimney structures neatly echo the home’s three volumes. “Aluminium box frames on top of the chimneys give the house a bit more of an architectural feel and a bit more height,” Emma explains.

The build

Construction required some skilled juggling and smart time management. Andrew is a director of Signature Homes Waikato so he knows a thing or two about designing and building beautiful homes. “Trying to build a house and run a business at the same time is quite stressful’, says Andrew whose clients always took priority over his own build. “To schedule ours in was a bit of a journey buy we got there in the end”. The experience for Signature Homes clients is a smooth one, he says. “We take the stress out of it- there are people taking you through every step of the Design & Build journey”.

Design features

1. ROOFING Colorsteel Corrugate Longrun ‘Ebony’ from Metalcraft 2. CLADDING Rosenfeld Kidson Cedar ‘Black’ from Carters 3. FRONT DOOR Plasa double door ‘Ebony’ from

Shop the look

Annabella Occasional Chair, $699, from Early Settler. Olli Ella Child’s luggy basket, $119, from Tea Pea. Brittany 5 drawer chest, $1,499, from Early Settler.

This stunning home is featured in our latest issue of Signature Style, you can order a free copy here. You can see more pictures in our Design & Build gallery, Andrew and Emma's home is the Tamahere.



A house and land package brings together a block of land and a home design that perfectly suits that block for a fixed price. It’s an easy, secure way to buy a new home.

For many people the dream of building is often overridden by the fear of what can go wrong. Cost blow outs, uncertainty about inclusions or the suitability of land they have seen. Our expertise in house and land packages means that we have a large range available to suit all budgets and the most discerning of tastes in the most popular locations, all at fixed prices.  

Some of our most popular house and land packages are those from our Smart Collection. While economical and great value for money, this collection contains all the key things that you expect in a new home – they are modern, warm, light, low maintenance and built from quality building materials, sourced from New Zealand’s leading suppliers and manufacturers.

As Paul Bull, CEO of Signature Homes points out “The truth is that first home buyers can buy a brand-new house and land package with a lower deposit than you would for a pre-existing house at the same price. That’s a home that is built to modern building standards. It’s well insulated, dry and warm and all the electrics are new – that means lower electricity bills, healthier homes and healthier families.”

Paul also points out that new home buyers opting to build can often defer the start of their mortgage payments until the house is built while enjoying the capital value increase on the property from the day that builders walk on to the site.

If you are looking to buy a new home, there are many compelling reasons to consider buying a house and land package. Here are five of our best:

1. You will stay within your budget
  • New homes offer great value for money and there are no hidden costs. At Signature Homes we have the budget discussion up-front, and design your home to your budget. We will talk to you about the “Total Cost to Build” which covers everything including the design, build and fit out. During the design process we know there will be questions, we are up-front about any changes and how they can affect the final cost
  • When you move in there are no other costs to plan for
  • You can spend your money on your home not on due diligence
  • House and land package new builds are exempt from the New Zealand Reserve Banks Loan-to-Value Restrictions (LVR), which means first home buyers can obtain finance for less deposit than the 20% typically required of first home buyers or the 40% from property investors. Read more here.

2. Peace of mind
Second hand houses don't come with a guarantee – things break, leak or flood and you’ll have to pay out of your own pocket. House and land packages, on the other hand, are built brand new so they’re guaranteed (not everybody offers the same high level of guarantee as Signature Homes, so scrutinise yours carefully). Plus you get your very own team managing the design and build process.

3. Make it yours

You have options to personalise your new home from decisions on flooring through to colours, tiles, fixtures, fittings and kitchen and bathroom design. What’s even better is that every Signature Homes customer receives one-on-one time with an interior designer to fine tune your big ideas and make your home one you love to live in.

4. Convenient, modern living

House and land packages are often built in new developments that are planned and designed to fit modern urban design principles. They have close access to public transport and are conveniently located close to amenities, schools, and green spaces and parks.

5. Healthy homes

The build quality of new homes with new building and material technologies ensure you can count on a warm, dry home for many years to come.

You may not have realised that a house & land package could be the answer to your dreams. If this article has sparked interest then you can get in touch with your local team here, or check out our full range of House & Land packages here.

There are many common questions regarding house & land packages, here are a few of our favourites:

Where in New Zealand can I purchase a house and land package? Signature Homes has house & land packages available from Northland to Canterbury (Central Otago coming soon!) and pretty much everywhere in between. We have worked with developers to find great sections, then matched 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.

How long will it take for my house to be ready for moving day? This will depend on many things such as the section, consents, titles on the land and access. You can expect your house to be ready anywhere from 20 weeks post the concrete slab going down (depending on the size and complexity of the house of course).

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.

What should I look for when comparing house & land packages? Ask lots of questions until you are comfortable all aspects and concerns have been covered. Building a home takes time so you want to have a positive working relationship with your building team. Landscaping and driveways are often left out of the quote (to keep the price down) however they must be included based on covenants of the development you are looking at. Check if appliances are included in your quote. What is the quality of the materials used? What are the standards of the company, do they offer a fixed price offer? Are you comfortable with their guarantees and timeframes? Remember if it seems too good to be true then it very well could be!

At Signature we are proud to work with the best suppliers in the country to ensure we are delivering you uncompromised design, service and quality when building your home. Resene is one of our valued partners and we recently spoke to Brenda Ngatai, Resene’s Colour Consultant about their latest forecast.

“Fully-steeped colours dominate the forecast, while easy-going earthy looks endure”.

The Resene colour team has been busy scouring the latest trend reports, blog posts, Instagram streams, Pinterest boards, catalogues, magazines and local shops to find out what trends are staying, which ones are going and what’s coming next. While there are certainly some recent trends that seem to have a lot of staying power, there are also some interesting surprises on the not-so-distant horizon.

Staying in touch with nature

“We have seen woven natural textures – especially in fibres like sisal, rattan and jute –everywhere, along with equally earthy colours to complement them: a myriad of greens, terracotta and blushes of warm, barely-there sunset tones like petal pink, lilac and buttery yellows. Try mixing a few favourites like Resene Shilo with Resene Permanent Green”, says Brenda.

The popularity of rich emeralds and jades like Resene Atlas paired with brass and white marble finishes is still holding strong. “This look can be easily mixed with natural or whitewashed baskets and plenty of plants for more dressed down glamour” said Brenda.

If you are keen for kilim then you can bring this look into your home with a few simple steps.


  1. The walls of this reading area (Resene Sunbaked) look warm and toasty in contrast to the neutral floor (Resene Napa)
  2. The sisal table has been livened up with Resene Rebel and is a great base for the pink and coral vases
  3. Snuggle in for a read on a statement chair or armless sofa in a natural oatmeal colour which lend themselves to being covered with cushions and cosy grey or caramel-coloured throws
  4. Handwoven kilim rugs by artisans from Kabul to Casablanca can be used to adorn floors and walls alike

In a space with this much warmth, you’ll hardly notice its winter at all!

The passion for pinks prevails

“While vibrant Living Coral was declared the 2019 Pantone® Colour of the Year, pinks are still the dreamy, pale, bordering-on-beige versions that have been popular since early last year – and they’re still absolutely everywhere – but they are slowly evolving to take on blush and coral tones too”, says Brenda.

On red alert

If your perceptions about pink have started to feel more like fatigue than frenzy, there may be an end in sight. Brenda has seen a slow shift towards deep burgundies, and rich poppies are, well, popping up and being layered over midnight blues.

Dark & stormy nights

Speaking of midnight blues, moody navies that look like they came straight out of the Mariana Trench like Resene Wishing Well are very popular right now. “You can build up a deeply layered look in a bedroom – like the one below – that’ll make you want to dive right into bed and stay there until winter’s over”, says Brenda.

You can achieve this look with:

  • Brass details and an ochre velvet chair provide a touch of warmth to balance out this otherwise cool space
  • Pile on the charcoal-on-navy-on-charcoal bedding
  • Finish with a soft low-pile rug in steel blue and an accent chair in a contrasting colour like mustard, aqua or coral

She suggests if those are too intense for your tastes, go for something a little more coastal like Resene Coastal Blue (from the Resene Karen Walker Range 2). Pair these with darker grey-blues like for some contrast and grey-whites for some levity.

Getting a feel for teals

Brenda tells us that aquas are also splashing into interiors right now. If you’re particularly daring, double down by teaming them with mustards.

For more ideas on how to bring bold, rich colours into your home – both in big and small doses – check out Resene's pro-tips.

The options for bringing colour and texture into your home are endless but sometimes the choices are overwhelming, so we love the fact that every Signature client gets time with a professional colour consultant during the design of their new home. This gives the opportunity to discuss the latest trends, refine your big ideas and bring personality into your home.  With the right colour choices and new finishings your house will be one you are proud to call home for a very long time.

If all of this colour talk has sparked inspiration then learn how to bring style into your home without breaking the bank here.

The benefits of building are many; but some people do not even consider the possibility due to the common misconception that a new build is time consuming, extremely stressful and fraught with budget uncertainty and blowouts.

This doesn’t have to be the case at all. Building new, with Signature Homes, can be comparable in cost to a major renovation and the final result is always better. And, as you will see, major stress and a huge drain on your time don’t have to factor in your new build experience.

#1- No budget blow-outs or surprises

You will no longer have to guess at prices, spend money on building reports and other due diligence. You won’t have to stretch your budget to the very limit only to find yourself not even in the ball park of what the vendor will accept.

At Signature Homes we have the budget discussion up-front, and design your home to your budget. We will talk to you about the “Total Cost to Build” which covers everything including the design, build and fit out cost. During the design process we know there will be questions, we are up-front about any changes and how they can affect the final cost.

Picture how satisfying it will be to spend your time on the joyful task of planning your dream home. It is one of the few times in your life you will have total freedom to create something perfectly suited to the personality and needs of your family.

#2- Design your home to suit your lifestyle

Maybe you are a young family, needing an environment that will work both now and as your children get older. Perhaps you have teenagers and desire separate living spaces. Maybe you are downsizing and need something more compact, that still provides you with space and a comfortable lifestyle.

Whatever your situation, with a new build everything from layout, indoor/ outdoor flow, insulation and heating, room size, storage, interior design and other finishing touches are delivered just as you want them.

When your dream home is completed on time and to budget, you can move in and immediately start enjoying your new lifestyle. Learn more about the Signature difference.

#3- Financial benefits

If you are building your first home, there are financial advantages such as lower LVR (loan-to value ratio) which you can learn more about here and KiwiSaver grants, if you are a first home buyer. 

Many people think they can’t afford to pay both rent or another mortgage and a loan for a new home while it is being built, but there are payment options with Building Loans and Construction Finance, read more here. 

#4- Make it stress-free

Choosing a Design & Build company like Signature is the easy option rather than engaging an architect, builder and suppliers yourself. We will manage the project from start to finish, with a guaranteed budget and completion date. This takes away all stress and uncertainty, leaving you completely free to continue with your normal life during construction, watch a Signature Design & Build time lapse. This is how we do it!

After the keys have been handed over, your Signature home will be protected by market leading guarantees and you own a beautiful, efficient, healthy home that will meet or exceed the building code, and have great re-sale value.

#5- You have options

With Signature Homes, you can choose to work with a pre-designed house plan from our extensive collection, making bespoke changes, or start from scratch with an entirely new design

When it comes to the land you also have plenty of options:

  • Buy a section and build on it- if you already have land then we can help you design a home to suit the site and your lifestyle
  • Purchase a House & Land Package- take advantage of a home designed to maximise the site in the best locations and newest developments in NZ
  • Build on an existing section- if you love where you live but not your house then a Knock Down & Rebuild, or subdividing, may be an option for you

And if you are not sure exactly what you want, not to worry. The Signature Homes team will guide you through every step of the process, explaining all the options and making suggestions that will work best for you and your family. Learn more on what to expect from the Signature experience HERE.