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Defying the odds

Marty Murchison, owner of Master Builder Murchison Homes, lives his life defying the odds. When you meet this rather enigmatic character, a feeling of ‘anything really is possible’ is immediately impressed upon you. It might be his signature laugh. Perhaps it’s his smarts and gumption. It could be his zest for life. More than likely, it’s a combination of all of these things that makes Marty so genuinely likeable and trustworthy.




A man of his word, Marty has lived his life giving his ambitious goals the wings to fly. At 20, he bought his own house, which in itself is a remarkable feat for someone earning $30,000 a year at the time. But then you add an intense case of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome into the equation and herein lies the knack for defying the odds.

Chronic Fatigue is a disease characterised by profound exhaustion, among other symptoms, that are exacerbated when the person suffering exerts themselves. In spite of this, Marty found reprieve and rehabilitation by chipping away at renovating his new doer-upper. “When I found I had the energy to get on the tools, there was no place I’d rather be.”

Restless to challenge himself further, at 22, Marty declared his intent to be mortgage free by 23. The plan that he concocted and cleverly executed was nothing short of genius. He negotiated with the former Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) to buy an otherwise derelict red zone property which he relocated and renovated.

“The only limitation is what you believe is possible. When you decide what you believe, you will see what you can achieve.”

The best part of this story is that Marty is about to help someone else defy the odds. Enter The Great Build Up, an inaugural initiative that will change the life of one deserving individual or couple.

If you are a first home buyer, and meet the right financial criteria, Murchison Homes wants to hear from you. Marty is offering to build one individual or couple a beautiful home in Ravenwood, Canterbury and will pay the mortgage on this home for a whole year, up to the value of $25,000.

In return, this individual or couple will agree to their home becoming a showhome on weekends, with one weekend off a month. “First and foremost, it is a privilege to be able to help an individual or couple get ahead in life. It’s also an opportunity for us to reimagine the showhome experience.”

Entries close 5pm, Sunday 10 November 2019 with shortlisting, interviewing, and selection taking place by Saturday 7 December 2019. Building will commence Monday 20 January 2020. Visit to enter and for full terms and conditions.




Artworks Landscape

Striking landscape designs: Artworks Landscape

What everyone is after is a landscape design that’s uniquely individual, the joy of the owner, envy of the neighbours and delight of family and friends.


 Artworks Landscape


Your landscape should reflect your personality and most definitely complement the interior of your home and its architecture. If you’re in the market, look no further than Artworks Landscape Ltd – the company’s Designer Luke Robertson, also a qualified horticulturist, is primarily here to listen first, in order to interpret to your wants, needs and desires.

Whether your requirements are for a new home, a total outdoor renovation, compact courtyard/townhouse or a more ambitious venture, (complete with swimming pool, outdoor kitchen, gas fire, expansive decking, paving and delicious plantings), they can model it to harmonise your lifestyle. “A well thought-out design encompasses not only the site, but how you like to use your space,” Luke says.

“The layout of hard surfaces (paving, decking etc) is the most critical factors to good design – this could be the largest investment in the construction and is the longest serving. Soft landscaping (plantings) can always be updated/modernised at a minimal cost later, provided the fundamental backbone to your design is solid.”


The team at Artworks offers the full service from design to finished construction of the project. It starts with your consultation – so give Luke a call today on 021 409 942 or enquire at


Taurus Built Ltd

Strength to Strength: Taurus Built Ltd

Taurus Built Ltd is going from strength to strength. From humble beginnings, the company has the dedication, professionalism and commitment to go above and beyond what is required to give you the home of your dreams.


Taurus Built Ltd


Founded by experienced builder Tom Peters in 2017, Taurus Built Ltd has grown from a one-man operation to a tightly-knit team of professional builders, with building projects on-the-go across Canterbury and Central Otago.

As a Registered Master Builder, all building projects undertaken by Taurus Built Ltd carry the Registered Master Builders 10-year guarantee; a solid reminder that your Taurus Built home has been built by qualified builders to stand the test of time.

Taurus Built will give you the best possible rate for your budget and prides itself on a job well done to the highest possible standard. With the company’s operations in Central Otago centred around the Wanaka area, Taurus Built has plenty of new projects on the go across both regions. There has never been a better time to get a team with the integrity and passion which Taurus Built is renowned for, to undertake your next building project.


For more information, or to organise your next build, phone Tom direct on 022 151 7835 or visit the website


Armstrong Interiors

Silver linings: Armstrong Interiors

It’s coming into winter, so now is the time to start thinking about how you can create a warm and cosy home, without blowing your heating bills.


Armstrong Interiors


Metropol catches up with award-winning interior designer Angelique Armstrong of Armstrong Interiors about the impact of drapes on style and comfort.


How can we dress our windows for winter?
In Christchurch, a large majority of our homes are single glazed and, with 75 percent of our heating believed to be lost through the windows, heavy drapes and good thermal linings are critical.
The most popular options for linings are blackout and thermal backed lining. Blackout prevents light filtering through your windows, great for bedrooms, TV rooms and home theatres.


What are sheers?
Sheers are used to filter the sun out. They are usually pulled during the day and create softness over the windows. This is a great way to add protection to your furniture and floor coverings. Sheers usually have a blackout lining on a second track to pull at night, for more privacy.
This is the most cost effective way of dressing your windows with drapery. Sheers are usually reasonably priced and linings can be colour matched to your sheers.
This is very popular at the moment for new home builds.


What’s the go in trendy drapes?
It’s all about the ‘heading’ and there are plenty of options – boxed, pleated, wave, pinched.
Your interior designer can advise you on the best heading for the fabric pattern and design you have chosen. My personal favourite is the box pleat.


What is puddling?
Puddling is when your curtain length is longer than the finished floor length and the drapes fall on the floor.
This can be a very effective way to display your drape for a dramatic look. Drapes that puddle usually have tie backs accompanying them. Puddling is also used when you are using a natural fibre to allow shrinkage


What about accessories and beading?
Beading and trims can give you that little bit of added detail you may need to finish off your interior space and are great if you want to make a statement or add extra luxury to your interior design.


If you are looking to upgrade your drapes for winter, come in and see us.


We are able to give you good advice on what you need for your home and lifestyle.  Visit or phone 03 356 2636.


Magic on Merrin

Magic on Merrin

For the last 15 years, Grant Price, Ruben Bunting and their small handpicked team of professional builders have been at the forefront of giving people the best quality home builds at the right price.


Magic on Merrin


With the Howard Barrington Group, there is no middleman or committee you have deal with. Grant and Ruben have 60 years’ experience between them and deal with you direct, taking you through every step of the build process from start to finish. To get an example of their skills and professionalism, you only need to look at 12 Merrin Street, Avonhead. With a neutral palette, a stylish floorplan, quality fixtures and fittings, your own décor will allow you to make it your own.


Magic on Merrin

The kitchen sports a generous helping of natural light thanks to the skylight; and large sliding doors open seamlessly to the outdoor patio, giving you that often-needed shelter and privacy. A fully tiled bathroom with underfloor heating, vanity, toilet and glass shower and a second separate toilet and basin will allow privacy for guests should the need arise.


Magic on Merrin


These units are also walking distance to two of Christchurch’s most sought-after schools, Burnside High and Merrin Street Primary. With one already snapped up, units 12 and 12a won’t last long. For more information contact Nicky Brownlee on 027 498 7181, or Tim Sprott on 027 435 9318 from Harcourts Grenadier. To contact Grant and Ruben about the home you have always wanted, phone 027 452 0163 or email

Kenneth F. Weaver Trust

Creating a haven: Kenneth F. Weaver Trust

For 45 years, the Kenneth F. Weaver Trust has been providing secure, comfortable accommodation for Christchurch pensioners.


Kenneth F. Weaver Trust


In 1973, Kenneth Weaver saw a need and set about filling it. The need was for quality living facilities for those elderly singles and couples who genuinely could not afford it. Plans were developed and 14 units were built in Abberley Crescent, St Albans. At that time, the rent for a single pensioner was $11.75 per week!

Now the trust owns 29 units in four locations in St Albans and Edgeware. Each of the units – 25 single-bedroom, and four two-bedroom – are secure, cosy and comfortable. They are exclusively for the elderly, 60+ only and provide the peace of mind that tenants have a home for life. Other criteria to qualify are a genuine housing need and having limited assets.

Another requirement of tenants is that they maintain their area of garden. Each of the units has gardens and grassed areas to rival any public garden space. Some of it is maintained by the trust. “Some of the tenants take an active interest in the gardens,” Kenneth says with a smile. “Some not so active.”

One very active, avid gardener is Maggie Copp. A tenant of the trust for the last eight years, Maggie has transformed her little corner of the property. Now, she has a very productive vegetable patch, dozens of swan plants and as many or more cocoons, and a beautifully manicured, colourful garden outside her window.


Kenneth F. Weaver Trust

“I do a lot of cuttings,” she says. “Quite a few of the roses are cuttings. I’ve always been a keen gardener.” Her efforts were acknowledged with a 2017 Community Pride Garden Award from the Fendalton-Waimairi- Harewood Community Board. The award was for her “personal contribution towards maintaining Christchurch as the Garden City”.

More than a garden, however, Maggie has, in the trust, found a haven. She emphasises that. “The trust is wonderful. The rent is amazing, the situation is fabulous. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I’ve found a haven.” The Kenneth F. Weaver Trust has created a haven for many elderly Cantabrians over the last five decades. Kenneth wants to promote the trust even more. “The public in general doesn’t know this service is available,” he says.

The next generation of Weavers are at the helm of the trust now. Kenneth’s daughter Karen and son Craig, are ensuring the trust is well placed to continue serving their tenants long into the future.


For more information, see the trust website, which you will fiind at



Landscaping alternative: GrassPro

If trying to maintain a perfectly manicured lawn has been a struggle this summer, maybe the answer lies in a modern synthetic grass product.




GrassPro has transformed the way we view ‘fake grass’ and is becoming a popular landscaping alternative for gardeners world-wide who want the beauty of a stunning lawn, but none of the care and preparation involved. Christchurch GrassPro operator Tim Gerard specialises in installing the product in smaller areas, such as town houses, apartments, over 60s units and spaces that are causing a nuisance for the homeowner.

The company can supply and install a range of specialist synthetic landscaping grasses to suit your taste, and you might be surprised to know, you even get a choice on the blade thickness, length, texture and shade of green. All grasses are UV stable, include no nasty chemicals or heavy metals, and are guaranteed for 10 years.



GrassPro can also install the product at early childhood centres and day cares, and they work hard to ensure all Health and Safety requirements, and New Zealand regulations are met. As an added bonus for the sports fan, they’ve also combined landscaping grass with a specialist golf putting green grass to create the perfect green for every golfer. GrassPro is a part of the ProGroup, a Kiwi family-owned business providing ‘niche property transformation services’.


For a free, no obligation quote on how GrassPro can help improve your backyard, or a project you have in mind, call Tim on 027 349 0527 or visit,


D J Hewitt Builders

Behind the office door: D J Hewitt Builders

Daryl Hewitt, owner of D J Hewitt Builders, has personally seen to it that building a house with his company is an all-inclusive experience.


D J Hewitt Builders


Daryl’s handpicked team are there for clients for every step, “from site selection to moving in with your toothbrush,” Daryl says. “We understand creating homes is about needs and wishes, and we are all about solutions rather than problems.” Backing the top team on site is the cracker team in the office. Craig is Project Manager, while Noel, a qualified technical builder, is the pricing expert and Daryl’s wingman for 19 years. Janet manages all accounts and with four years at D J Hewitt, is able to anticipate requests before they are made. She also makes sure the subtrades and bills get paid on time.

Janelle makes everything happen: passing information, timelines and weekly site photos between the office, building team, trades and clients. The office team is rounded out by Tara, Daryl’s wife, and interior design and fitout guru. Tara assists clients to choose tiles, appliances, plumbing and other fittings and the interior and exterior colour scheme, ensuring all fit within the budget.


D J Hewitt Builders

Daryl says there is a happy environment in the office. It’s a genuine team effort that centres around communication, openness and transparency. The company as a whole like a family and staff turnover is rare: builder Kevin has been on site for Daryl for 23 years. The whole team is very loyal and passionate about work and they get together outside of work too, with the likes of the D J Hewitt basketball team and golf days.

Working with clients right from the beginning, the D J Hewitt team help with site selection and choosing a designer, or will work with the designer you have already chosen. Every part of the process is managed, complete with pricing and monitoring your budget. “Striving to work to budget can be the most stressful part of a build, but I ensure the build fits the budget and the wishlist,” Daryl says.


D J Hewitt Builders

“In fact, they call me the budget police,” he adds. “I keep the design on track but will build it to the client’s budget. It’s not about cutting corners; it’s about adding value, doing things in a clever way. A single line on paper can be the difference between $60k or $100k.”

Daryl, Noel and Tara meet with clients and designers often. Behind the scenes they meet the engineer, geotech engineers, and surveyors to ensure those elements stay on budget. Janet ensures all quoting and invoicing is explanatory and transparent, and she also provides forecasting of the expenses ahead.


D J Hewitt Builders


The loyal team of subtrades have worked with Daryl for 20 plus years and work closely with Noel and Daryl to ensure the best value, and the right product, priced correctly. “It’s not a job; we’re passionate about creating homes and delivering dreams – whether it’s a deck or a multi-million dollar hill build.”


D J Hewitt Builders



Allfrey + South Architects

Let’s talk Architecture: Allfrey + South Architects

Architects Cymon Allfrey and Craig South announce a new brand, along with an exciting new group to draw people together with a shared passion for architecture.


Allfrey + South Architects


It is energising to have started the year with a fresh new brand, Allfrey + South Architects and to reflect on what that represents. The name change captures the strong partnership within our practice and gives a renewed sense of purpose for the New Year.
While the name is different, we have the same team of creative people on board who love everything about architecture.

We share a culture of collaboration and a desire to achieve extraordinary results. Wrapped up in our name too, is a sense of social responsibility that means we endeavour to create buildings that are completely in sync with their location and community. Above all, we recognise how privileged we are to be invited into our clients’ lives, to turn their dreams into architectural reality.

In truth, we are all totally passionate about architecture and love talking about it whenever we can and to whoever will listen. Wherever we go, we tend to explore and immerse ourselves in architecture and may easily get distracted by the curve of a wall or a choice of cladding. It’s an occupational hazard!


Allfrey + South Architects

We can’t help but bombard each other and our friends and family with architectural conversation, but last year we had one of those light bulb moments when we realised other people might also be genuinely interested in what we have to say. That moment arose from an open studio session where we met a lovely couple familiar with our work. They wanted to delve deeper into our design theories and hear about our current projects. Their level of curiosity really impressed us.

It got us thinking that there must be other people in and around Christchurch who would love to discuss architecture and would like to get involved with a group that could make that happen.


Architect Craig South
Craig South
Cymon Allfrey
Cymon Allfrey









Jennian Homes

Building Dreams: Jennian Homes

“ We had an extremely successful end of 2018 with enquiries, signings and new builds,” says Dwayne Prendergast who, together with Sue Prendergast and Paul and Bubs Jenkins are the owners of Jennian Homes, Canterbury.


Jennian Homes


“We’ve built up a massive momentum and the whole team is buzzing for 2019.”  Owners since mid-2016, they are supported by a team of in-house sales and accounts professionals, and they are thrilled to have a fantastic set of skilled personnel in the key project management group. “We’ve all got such energy and enthusiasm for what we achieve here, and it’s because we work with great brands, great trades and we get great results.

“We’ve completed numerous homes for delighted clients, and we are proud of what we are doing,” Dwayne says. The team has expanded the area it covers and Jennian Homes Canterbury is now creating dream homes for happy clients from Kaikoura to Timaru.

Three key words drive this team: honesty, quality and communication. “We are open and upfront with clients about pricing and products,” Dwayne says and client feedback reflects the value of that. Communication is continuous, from sales to completion and excellence in communication has enabled the team to complete builds for clients based in Australia and Hamilton, and for mobility-impaired clients, each of whom could not regularly be on site. Other testimonials include: “adaptable, they were able to make adjustments as we moved through” and, “efficient with timeframes, all the way from sales to completion”.


Jennian Homes

Jennian provides a range of designs unique to the company and covers everything from first homes, to batches, to architecturally designed homes, and of course they work to client-owned plans as well. “All of these sectors are going full speed ahead and that’s the way we love it,” Dwayne says.

New plans were brought to the market in the middle of last year and these have been very well received, with three new show homes to be added this year. There is one to be built in Timaru, one in Rolleston, and the third at Ravenswood; a home featuring large open-plan living and a modern designer kitchen with integrated pantry, and clad in James Hardie products with a monopitch roofline.

With a career spent as a builder, in building supplies and in building companies, Dwayne has “done pretty much everything in the industry”. His favourite part of the whole new-build process at Jennian is “completing dreams”.  “We love to see the smiley faces, to help young people into their first homes, and to build the ‘forever home’ for families.”