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Moving on Up in Nelson

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This morning’s Stuff article is pertinent to NZ homes, and how they differ from what we might see overseas. You can read the article HERE

It’s my experience that throughout the world, houses are built from the most readily available material. When we talk with buyers who have moved here from the UK or Europe, they may have sold an ‘old’ house that is 500 years old.

Most old NZ houses date from 1880 onwards. In early colonial times houses were no more than Cottages.  From 1890 – 1905 we saw the introduction of the Square Villas clad with rusticated weatherboards, a roof of four equal parts meeting at a central point, and which invariably featured a verandah with a ‘bull-nosed’ roof. They were usually completely devoid of ornamentation.

There has always been considerable overlap in building styles, and from 1900 – 1920 we saw the introduction of Bay Villas. Early examples showed a combination of Cottage style with the simple Villas, but they often had a bay window with a high gable.  Decoration became the order of the day, and the owner of a Bay Villa often acquired the property as an indication of their improving financial circumstances. Eaves brackets, corniced square verandah posts with fretwork in between, and the gable itself.

As the Bay Villa reached its peak of popularity, design changed towards less ostentation and greater utility, and we saw the introduction of Californian Bungalows, which takes us through to about 1935.

There were extensive differences from the Villas – fireplaces moved to the external wall rather than sitting either side of an internal wall, verandahs were retained but were built as part of the main roof and were often deeper, double hung or sash windows were replaced with the taller, narrower side hung casement windows, and cladding was narrower bevel-back boards took over from the earlier rusticated profile. Towards the latter part of this period there was a more adventurous approach to design and consequent floor plans. Gables tended to become wider, timber shingles appeared in hoods over the windows and in the gables, and rafters projected out beyond the walls in the roof eaves.

The Flat-Roofed house made its appearance around 1937 and continued through most of the war years.  Often stucco-clad, they frequently featured a parapet across the front and down the sides concealing a low-pitched corrugated iron or bitumen roof. The bitumen/malthoid roof idea came from California, where the sun’s UV rays weren’t as bad – here they damaged these roofs in no time at all and none now exist.

These houses were commonly called Spanish Bungalows, which is an interesting euphemism considering the most direct influences at the time stemmed from Germany, with whom we were at war.

State houses had started to appear en masse from 1938, and early in my real estate career I had the pleasure of selling a number of them in Palmerston North’s Savage Crescent – one of the first “Garden” subdivisions of the era and a real showcase for ‘modern’ urban design.  Laid out in a racetrack shape, Savage Crescent incorporated playgrounds, playing fields in the centre, and a shopping centre at one end.

They were small, but solidly built houses and are now highly sought after for the quality of construction.  Cladding was brick, timber or stucco.

The shortage of houses after the war had become acute and as a result houses were built fast, and in some cases quite rough.  My father, who was a plumber at the time, saw a number of shortcuts taken, and in one case recalls the house piles on one particular job being the tree stumps that resulted from the removal of trees from the building site.

Group building work became part of the more adventurous architectural scene, and there were new designs concerning interior spaces and layout.

There was a gradual shift away from stucco cladding, and timber regained popularity and brick veneer made its mark.

The garage started to appear as a built-in part of the house (very few were internal access and most had the garage under the master bedroom).

Since the 1970’s, the range of cladding has become increasingly varied. Design styles have come from all over the world, encouraged by the increasing influence of Kiwis who have travelled and a market demand for better housing driven by migrants from a varity of countries.

A period of reduced building standards, non-tanalised framing timber, and poor building practices in the 1990’s has now been left in the past, although the leaky home problem is still with us.

Now, double glazing, better insulation and earthquake design rules, more efficient heating, and better cladding practices has seen a rapid move towards better quality homes and healthier living within those homes.

Which takes me smoothly to….our feature home this week, which is of course 3 Citrus Lane, Nelson.

Built with steel framing and clad, glazed and insulated to modern standards, this very spacious home offers triple car garaging, OR, a generous sized double PLUS lock up parking for your boat.

We look forward to seeing you at our open home this weekend.

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