Their story

Shell and Lee’s decision to build came just before the beginning of COVID, a scary time for all, but they decided to push forward anyway. “The first time we were introduced to the section in Bell block Taranaki, the sun was setting over Mt Taranaki, it felt special, we decided to run with it,” says Shell.

Originally from the UK, Shell and Lee have rented homes both in England and Aotearoa, after making the decision to make the big move to Taranaki 6 years ago, bringing their impeccably trained dog Bodhi with them. Pumpkin, the cat, is a born and bred Taranaki local and was the perfect addition to the family. Bodhi and Pumpkin come complete with matching fur and attitudes too - gorgeous!

After looking at the existing property market for a while, Shell and Lee couldn't find a home that offered what they were looking for. Opting to build gave them a blank canvas to create a home that suits their lifestyle and budget. "The ability to design our house plan was an amazing opportunity," says Shell.

They found their slice of paradise in Bell Block, Taranaki, an evolving coastal community attracting young families and those who appreciate relaxed living.

View home here.

Their Brief

Room for all, a space for every situation and a ‘pet garden’.

A house to grow into and for all to enjoy sums up Shell and Lee's brief. They love to socialise, host family from the UK and dabble in a few movie nights! There was also the consideration of their two fur babies, who were the recipients of their own designated space, which comes complete with a fenced-off 'pet garden'. It's no wonder they need their own 'pad' being busy Instagram stars. @bodhi_pumpkin_andfriends

Shell and Lee were drawn to plans that offered open plan living and various spaces to relax and entertain. The kitchen is the heart of the house, where Shell and Lee spend a lot of time enjoying their passion for baking and cooking.

View home here.

The Plan

Open plan living, dramatic sunsets, and culinary experiences can be found at Shell and Lee’s home.

After looking at many different Signature Homes plans, Shell and Lee set their hearts on the Tavai plan from Signature Homes Pacific Collection. "The easy flow, open plan living and access to the outdoors at both ends of the home ticked a lot of our boxes," says Lee. Shell and Lee worked with their Signature Homes design team to tweak the plan adding in a separate laundry and extending the open plan living space. The addition of extended sliding doors and full-length windows captures the indoor-outdoor flow even more so.

Once surrounded by farmland and raw views of Mt Taranaki, their site was one of few sections remaining that still captured the dramatic scene of Mt Taranaki’s beauty. To complement this magical opportunity, Shell and Lee made adaptations to their plan, such as tilting the position of the house, ensuring their outdoor living was centred around the view.

View home here.

Design Inspiration

Everything you see in Shell and Lee’s home has been carefully curated to celebrate Taranaki’s unique and wild coastline.

Shell and Lee started their journey looking at building companies online, comparing plans and visiting local showhomes. After seeing Signature Homes Taranaki’s Fernbrook Showhome, they were so impressed by the quality and styling that they decided to contact the team at Signature Homes Taranaki.

Shell and Lee’s brick exterior is inspired by growing up in England. The white brick with black joinery in ‘Flax’ adds a modern feeling to the home and resembles the native New Zealand Flax plant/Harakeke. Lush green plants help to soften the white brick creating a gorgeous botanical feel, for a couple who love nature.

Their interior styling is inspired by the beautiful rustic textures of coastal Taranaki; it also so happens that the pets match the colour palette too! Shell swears it’s accidental. The rugged concrete stone bench creates a statement piece in the open plan living space, and natural materials with a light and dark colour scheme, symbolise Taranaki beaches and landscape. “It’s always been important to us for our house to reflect the place we now call home – Taranaki.” Says Shell.

View home here.

Something Special

“We love it all and have so much more planned, but there is one thing we really do love” …

It’s hard to pick just one thing in Shell and Lee’s gorgeous home, but after speaking with Shell and Lee, we decided on the rustic barn door, which acts as a feature wall and access to the separate media room. A local metal fabricator helped bring Shell and Lee’s vision of a rustic barn door to life with blued steel to add texture and a moody vibe.

View home here.

Their Experience

“The quality of Signature Homes showhome’s, materials and layouts really stood out to us”

Shell and Lee describe that from their first contact with the Signature Homes team to the day they moved in as fantastic. “They always made us feel welcome, appreciated and like nothing was too much trouble. Of course, with Covid around and multiple lockdowns, there were bumps in the road, but Signature Homes always communicated with us, doing their utmost best to deliver what we wanted, to budget and on time,” says Shell and Lee.

Shell and Lee describe that their favourite part of the building process was choosing interior features and watching the framing start to look like a house after the joinery was fitted. Of course, this was quickly superseded when they received the keys. “It felt like a dream” says Shell.

View home here.

Shell & Lee’s advice

“All the decision making can be really overwhelming but so much fun at the same time. Have a clear vision, be kind and enjoy the journey” .

From the start of the process, it helped to think about how we would use the house everyday. We imagined ourselves living in it, which got us thinking about what we would need and helped with adaptations. Pinterest was a big help for design inspo. We found having a clear vision from the start, helped us to describe exactly what we wanted with the team. We had faith in our team; we were in it together and working in unison is super important.

View home here.


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