The sense of freedom I felt then, will never leave me. I spent days alone exploring gullies, creek beds and wild, limestone landscapes.
But as anyone who has lived on a farm knows there are always chores to be done too. It was a family affair and everyone chipped in. Dad made me a farm hand as soon as I could lift a lamb. I loved it. By the time I turned eight I was out helping with shearing, tailing and moving fences. It was a hands-on apprenticeship that taught me all kinds of practical skills and gave me the confidence to give anything a go.
When it comes to renovating and home design, Mum is my inspiration. We lived in a smaller style, country home. At first it was rough but each year Mum would renovate a room and slowly things improved. As kids, we would come home from school, to the smell of fresh baking and after a snack, get busy creating things, together. We were encouraged to pick up the paint brushes, strip the wallpaper and choose the colours for our rooms. Mum’s vision and drive transformed our family home into a special place. Seeing what great results can be achieved with a little imagination, time and effort, really piqued my interest in remodelling houses.
I renovated my first house when I was 20. It had been mistreated; it smelled terrible, was full of holes and leaked, badly. At the time, I was working as a rural Technical Field Advisor by day but spent every spare hour I had doing-up that place. I worked alongside trade professionals to pick up as much know-how as I could. I quickly learned how to rewire, replumb and reroof, not to mention relate to and, coordinate with all the trades.
Finally, a family got to move into that home. I saw how much they loved it. I thought, wow what a privilege it is to build someone a home and be part of their life in that way. So, I was ready to do it all again. Three renovations later, I was getting great results and wonderful feedback. Fine, but I wanted to create something that offered the best in living choices. I kept thinking an old house will always be an old house. It was time to build something new; using the latest products and the best possible workmanship. Murchison Homes was born.
While I always enjoyed design and drafting at school, you could say that my first house project was a tree-hut back on the farm. My Poppa was a carpenter, he was always building things. He made me wooden toys, which I still have today. I was always in the sand pit making stuff too, but after a time of watching Poppa at work I soon graduated to tree hut construction. As soon as I finished my first one, I thought that’s cool, and started on my next one. Now I think I may have come full circle as recently I was engaged by a client to design a home that replicates the living spaces of their grandfather’s house.
They say environment and climate shapes the man. I know that the colours, landscape and open skies of Canterbury will always be a part of me. Equally I feel empowered by the rugged backdrops and glacial valleys of Queenstown and Wanaka. At Murchison Homes, we incorporate these elements into all our designs and landscaping. We build homes that sit comfortably in their surroundings, maximise the sunlight and in the case of smaller spaces, feel less like a townhouse and more like a country home.
Great relationships are the foundations of great projects. Growing up in the country, you get to know your neighbours. Even though they may live some distance away on a personal level you are close to them. Every one looks out for each other. If there is one aspect of building homes that I enjoy most, it is getting to know my clients. By understanding their way of life and their future aspirations, I can custom build a home that best matches their needs and aesthetic, not to mention their budget.
Come visit me at Murchison Homes Amberley to experience the quality and character of a north Canterbury lifestyle.
Ghostwriter: Jason Burgess / Burgseye – 0212399320