Blog

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - 12:15pm
Bathroom built by Signature Homes

If you’re building a new house, some of the most exciting and daunting decisions are in the bathroom. One sink or two? Bath or no bath in the ensuite? Wall-hung or floor mounted vanity? Every decision you make has both practical and stylistic implications because while your bathrooms are probably the smallest rooms in your house, they are also the most used. In our bathroom blog series, we look at everything you need to know about putting together your new bathroom.


Bath or no bath?

Baths take up a lot of floor space and they do add to the cost of a bathroom but who doesn’t love a leisurely soak at the end of a long day? A bath gives your main bathroom both style and functionality. They’re great for resale value, especially for families with small children. Baths also make a big visual impact, creating a focal point and wow-factor.

When you're building a new home and every dollar of the budget counts, the question of whether or not you also need a bath in your ensuite will probably come up. If you have the space and budget and love soaking in a tub, then go for it, but a generous-sized, beautiful shower in your ensuite should take precedence over a second bath.


Choosing a Bath

Baths have gone from purely practical and functional to stunning design features in their own right. If space isn’t an issue you can choose your bath by taste alone, but each type of bath comes with its own considerations.

Things to consider:

  • Who will be using the bath the most? If you are a family with young children, a built-in bath with a ledge around it may be a better option.
  • Will your hot water supply keep up with the size of your bath? Some larger tubs can take as much as 370 litres of water to fill.


Plumbing World work with Signature Designers and clients to help all our clients design and fit out the bathroom that is right for them “Whether you chose a freestanding, back-to-wall or built-in bath, consider the size and purpose of your bathroom.  A built-in bath needs a room at least 10 metres square in size.  If it’s a small compact space you are working with a back to wall bath may work better. You don’t have to compromise on comfort and style to achieve an elegant, relaxing space.” says their Design Expert.


Freestanding Bath

A freestanding bath is a bathtub that stands alone in the bathroom and is finished on all sides. They are extremely popular at the moment and make a beautiful statement, whether they sit on traditional claw feet or are mounted directly onto the floor.

A freestanding bath instantly becomes the focal point of a bathroom, giving luxury, glamour, and a feeling of lightness and space. Although the actual bath may be more expensive to buy than a built-in bath, a freestanding bath doesn’t need framing all around it, which can reduce the overall cost. Developments in technology also mean that lighter weight freestanding baths are available, which require less flooring reinforcement than concrete or marble.

Things to consider:

  • Is there enough space all the way around the bath so you can clean behind it?
  • Will you hide your plumbing and pipes in the wall or make a feature of it?
  • Where will you keep toiletries? A floating or tiled-in shelf will keep toiletries and bathing accessories within reach.
  • What style of freestanding bath will complement your vanity, tap-ware and tiles?


Built-in Bath

A built-in bath is installed against a wall or inside a framed and tiled bath surround. This surround can increase the cost of a bath but it also offers somewhere to sit, store toiletries, or place a glass of wine and candles. A built-in bath can look ‘heavier’ than a freestanding bath as it takes up more space, but if you frame and tile it to match the rest of the room, the finished result will be streamlined and cohesive. The framing around a bath can also be used to hide plumbing and pipes, if you don’t want to see them.

Built-in baths tend to be easier to clean than freestanding, because there are no hard-to-reach areas behind the bath that gather dust and mildew. In bathrooms where space is tight, built-in baths also provide an opportunity to place a shower over the bath tub.

Things to consider:

  • How will you frame and tile the bath surround to complement the rest of your bathroom?
  • How easy is it for children and elderly people to get in and out of the bath?


Back-to-Wall

If you love the look of a freestanding bath but space is tight, a back-to-wall bath might be the best option. They have the visual appeal of a freestanding bath but take up less room and are easier to clean because one side is mounted against a wall.

 

Changes to your bathroom can be costly and time-consuming down the line, so it’s important to get professional advice when making decisions. Our Designers are experts at delivering practical, stylish bathrooms, and our Colour Consultants will help you choose tiles and fixtures for a cohesive finish.

Our team is one of your biggest assets when building with Signature Homes. Whatever your choice of bath, they will help you design a bathroom you will love for years to come.

 

Friday, August 18, 2017 - 10:15am
It's better to buy a new home than settle for second hand

No doubt you’ve seen existing houses advertised as ‘first home buyer’s dream’ and ‘affordable starter’ and your heart leaps because you think “I might be able to afford that…”. In person, you’re likely to be disappointed at the compromises you'll have to make, and the amount of work required to make it a livable home.

What real estate agents don't want you to know
House and land packages, on the other hand, have copped some unfair publicity because they’re often in the outer suburbs and some developments have smaller than traditional sized sections. In reality, these new homes are constructed to suit the modern lifestyle with modern building materials, in new suburbs that are usually designed with lots of shared green space and parks.

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 electricals are new – that means lower electricity bills, healthier homes and healthier families.”

House and land packages are created when a building company secures land from a developer or property owner and then matches the land with home design perfect for the section in terms of size, orientation and the contours of the land. The building company markets and sells that package, works with the buyer to personalise the home to their tastes, then manages the consent process and project manages the build.

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 the best:

1. Lower Deposit
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.

2. Personalisation
Depending on the builder and the requirements of the developer, buyers have options to personalise their new home, including changing internal plans, wall placement and decisions on flooring through to tiles, colours, fixtures, fittings and kitchen and bathroom design.

3. Suburban Planning
House and land packages are often built in new developments that are planned and designed to fit modern urban design principles and stringently regulated by councils. They have close access to public transport and are conveniently located close to amenities, schools, and green spaces and parks – because modern town planners and architects think about these things.

4. Insulation
The build quality of new house and land packages and new building and material technologies ensure you can count on a warm, dry home for many years to come.

5. 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).

“These house and land developments are key to answering the housing shortage, and housing supply issues in some areas in the country such as Auckland and Christchurch, and are one of the most practical forms of housing growth – which is why they are also popular in other areas such as Whangarei and Tauranga,” says Paul.

With reports* that four out of ten New Zealanders are toughing out the cold and damp to save on electricity this winter, choose your new home carefully and invest in a warm, dry and healthy future for your family.


*State of the Home Survey for the Auckland University of Technology and HRV home ventilation company

Friday, July 28, 2017 - 11:15am

A beautiful roof is the crowning glory to any home but what goes on it is more than just a visual choice. Your choice of roof materials plays a critical role in the performance of your home, and it impacts your budget now and when it comes to maintenance down the line.

One of the advantages of building new rather than buying an existing home is access to terrific new product technology and guarantees that mean your home will be weathertight for decades to come.

Whether you know exactly how you want your roof to look, or if you just want a cost-efficient and durable solution, this blog post explains the most common roofing materials used in New Zealand, and gives an insight into how they can affect the look of your home and your budget.

 

LONG RUN METAL ROOFING

The most popular roofing material in New Zealand is long run metal, and for good reason. Lightweight, durable and easy to install, it comes in a wide range of colours and profiles to give a classic finish to any home. Profiles are the curves and patterns that give a metal roof striking shadow lines and personality, whether you like the traditional undulating curves of corrugated iron or the contemporary architectural lines of a tray profile.

The classic corrugated iron roof has largely been replaced by zinc or aluminium coated alloy-steel, which means less maintenance and greater durability, especially if your home is within sight of the sea.

 

METAL TILES

Metal roofs are also available as tiles, pressed from zinc or aluminium alloy-coated steel that give the look of a traditional tiled roof. Popular in our Smart Collection of houses due to their cost-efficiency and resilience, metal tiles come in a wide range of finishes, from a shingle or stone look to pre-painted metal. A metal tiled roof lends charm and character to the overall aesthetic of a home.

Low-maintenance and easy to replace, metal tiles typically weigh a sixth of the weight of a conventional tile which reduces the amount of timber bracing required, thus providing cost saving in design and materials. Despite this, they give strength in the event of an earthquake and are impenetrable even in gale force winds due to their interlocking design.

 

ASPHALT

Asphalt shingles are suitable for roofs pitched over 15 degrees and are a low maintenance option in sea spray zones. Although they are comparable with metal roofing in terms of material cost, they must be installed over a plywood substrate, which increases the overall price of the roof.

 

CLAY TILES

Clay tiles (from concrete or terracotta) are suitable for roofs with a pitch over 10 degrees and are extremely durable and weather resistant. Popular on traditional Italian or Spanish style houses, they give a natural warmth and are good at absorbing the sound of rain and hail. Although the cost per square metre is comparable to metal roofing for concrete tiles, they are as much as a third heavier and require a greater investment in timber bracing. Clay tiles are significantly more expensive and require extra bracing as well.

 

OPTIONAL EXTRAS

Solar Panels and Tiles

As more clients look towards renewable energy sources, products have become readily available that can be installed onto the roof and convert light into electrical energy. Signature Homes can provide quotes for solar tiles or solar panels on request.

 

Skylights and Rooflights

Fixed panel skylights (roof lights or roof windows) are a great way to obtain natural light in certain homes. If electronic opening versions are used, they also provide ventilation in areas such as bathrooms and showers. Signature Homes can provide quotes for skylights or rooflights on request.

 

Deciding on the final details of your new build can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to exterior items such as the roof. These decisions have significant structural and financial implications if changed later, so getting it right during the design of your home is critical. If in doubt, ask an expert.

Building your home with Signature not only gives you access to our decades of experience and exceptional guarantees, we are also here to support you through design, budgeting and build so you get the best possible home for your money, lifestyle and design taste.

 

Click here to see images of beautiful Signature Homes roofs to inspire your new home.

Friday, June 16, 2017 - 12:45pm

When planning to design and build your dream home, the style of roof is probably not as high on your list of must-haves as the kitchen and bathrooms, but it should be. Your roof provides protection from the elements and plays a major role in how weathertight, resilient and energy efficient your home is. Your roof also makes up as much as a third of the exterior of your home, and has a significant visual impact.

There are many considerations when planning your roof design, for example pitch, style, colour, choice of material (roof coverings), exposure to weather conditions, site positioning and of course, budget. This blog post looks at the practical and visual elements of roof pitch and style.

Roof pitch describes the steepness of a roof and it is essential in determining how water and debris will disperse. The main reason for pitching a roof is to redirect water and snow away from the house, which is why a steep pitched roof is common in areas that receive heavy snowfall. Pitch also determines what materials or systems are suitable for that home’s design.

There are four main roof styles that are common to New Zealand architecture.

1. Gable Roof
The gable is very popular in New Zealand, recognisable by its triangular shape and traditional aesthetic. The two roof panels are pitched so that they meet in the middle, and this style is typical of Cape Cod and Tudor style houses. From a functional perspective, gable roofs easily shed water and snow, however bracing design is essential in high wind zones. Inside, a gable roof provides space between the ceiling and roof coverings for storage or attic purposes, or can be used to create a striking raked (Cathedral) ceiling. 

2. Hip Roof
The clean, symmetrical design of a hip roof makes it another popular choice in New Zealand. Sturdy and stable in areas with snowfall or high winds, the hip style has all sides equal in length, forming together at the ridge of the roof to resemble a pyramid. Consistent with gable roofs, the increased height of a hip roof allows ceiling space for storage, attics or raked ceilings.  

3. Monopitch Roof
Modern and striking, a monopitch roof is also known as a skillion roof, and has a single, angled plane that rises from one side of the house to the other. Monopitch roofs can be very easy to construct, and evoke a minimalist, industrial style that has gained popularity in recent years. Eye-catching to look at from the outside, they add size to the interior rooms and give a nice aesthetic to ceilings if designed to follow the pitch of the roof.

4. Flat Roof
Made popular in the 1920s by Modernist architects such as le Corbusier, a flat roof has little or no pitch. Popular in cities with dry climates, the benefit of a flat roof is that the roof can be used as extra living or deck space, or for a rooftop garden. Flat roofs are more common in commercial applications in New Zealand as they provide space for storage of solar panels, air conditioning units and other building services. Ventilation and correct choice of roof covering is essential when using a flat roof design.

Before choosing your roof, it is important to determine what will work on your selected building site, the weather conditions your home will be exposed to and any other local or regulatory conditions. Once you have narrowed the choices from a practical perspective, think about what your needs are in terms of storage, building services, energy efficiency and of course, how you want your roof and ceilings to look. Ask your New Home Consultant for a Signature Homes Scrapbook and use it to collect pictures of existing houses you love.

Our New Home Consultants are specialists who will work with you and your ideas to make your dream home a reality. Whether you choose one of our pre-designed plans or want us to design your home from scratch (Design & Build), take time to consider what style of roof will best suit your lifestyle and needs, and give your dream home the crowning glory it deserves.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017 - 3:30pm

Have you ever had a suit or dress tailor made, just for you? Starting with a pre-determined cut or design, the tailor then helps you choose fabric, fit, colour and design finishings to make it unique to you and your needs. An extra pocket here, a cropped hem there, even though your suit or dress came from the same design as multiple clients before you, the final product can look completely different if you want it to.

Building a new home from a Signature Homes Pacific Collection plan is much the same. Your choice of plan determines specifics such as the number of bedrooms, bathrooms and overall floor plan. From there, you can instantly modify the look and style of your home through your choice of roof shape, exterior cladding and window style, or by adding exterior details such as a feature chimney or covered deck.

Take the two houses in the picture above, for example. Both options that can be built from the Marina plan, each exterior has a unique look and feel. House one has a gable roof with brick and weatherboard cladding and feature chimney. House two has a completely different look with monopitch roof and weatherboard cladding, and that’s before even considering colour choice and joinery. And both homes have changed the location and entrance of the garage.

Inside, there are endless options available to tailor a plan. You can add bi-fold or sliding doors to create indoor / outdoor flow, remove wardrobes to create office space or add in a kitchen island or butlers pantry to give you your dream entertainer’s kitchen. Some changes could alter the final cost of your home, and your New Home Consultant can help you work out whether the changes you desire can be made easily and within your budget, or whether you might be better off choosing an alternative plan.

Starting with a plan doesn’t mean you get the same home as everyone else who has also started with the same plan, Signature have never built the exact same home twice. A tried and tested house plan means you can relax knowing that the bones are good, and enjoy the process of personalising your home to make it unique.