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Craig South

Balancing architecture with interior design: Craig South

Rather than treating interior design as a finishing touch, architect Craig South suggests a collaborative approach can be much more effective.


Craig South


Architects and interior designers have traditionally tended to work apart but, in my experience, it’s far better to have both on the same page and working together from an early stage. Having a shared design vision is the best guarantee of an inspiring outcome.

There may be a perception that the architect’s job stops at the front door, yet more often than not external form flows through to the interior and this, in turn, will influence how the interior comes together. Good communication between the architect and interior designer ensures both can be focussed on the same goal of creating spaces that people will enjoy living in. That means spaces that are functional and that will work well with a building’s form and aesthetics.

When an architect and interior designer are in sync over key decisions, such as what materials will be used, a high level of overall consistency can be achieved. Built-in features like window seats are a good example of how interior design and architecture can be linked in this way. Some might see them as a bit of a throwback, but window seats are great for storage and, if built in the right places, offer lovely little spots for enjoying views and sun. Similarly, built-in bookshelves and places for ornaments really help breathe life and personality into a home.


Craig South


When planning a new home, I’d suggest getting an interior designer on board as early as possible to kick start these positive design synergies, even if all you have is a concept drawing. Decisions on smart use of space for storage – or how best to frame views or site a fireplace – can be made in unison and with the client’s needs front and centre. Involving the interior designer early also streamlines their own decision-making on furnishing and finishing.

In my day to day practice, I am privileged to work alongside an in-house interiors team and find that being able to bounce ideas between us is very helpful to the overall design process. We also collaborate with other interior designers at various stages of our projects and find that to be invaluable to the end result.

Take something as specific as a kitchen: it makes sense to bring the architect and interior designer together and let them know exactly how you want that space to perform. You can even show them where you envisage standing at your kitchen bench. A good mutual understanding of the space being created will get you off to a flying start.


Craig South


What we constantly strive to do in our own practice, as architects and designers, is to create playful, easy to use spaces. Our goal is not simply to create houses as shelter, but homes with personality that include all those special bespoke touches that add up to an enjoyable way of life.


Architect Craig South
Craig South


At its best, architecture and interior design are a kind of ‘pas de deux’, both working in tandem to produce a harmonised whole.


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

Designer Homes

Homes with wow factor: Designer Homes

Christchurch home owners can now inject more ‘wow’ factor into their properties with help from Designer Homes.


Designer Homes


Specialising in textured wall painting and ceiling designs, interior designer Rajesh Thakur takes inspiration from the ornate designs he has seen around the world and is now bringing his creations to life in Canterbury. He is a strong believer that a home should reflect those who live in it and stand out from the crowd, all while offering the service at an affordable price. Whether you need a small job completed, or have a bigger project in mind, Rajesh and the team can help you think outside the box.

As an interior designer, he creates complete ceiling designs, while working with specialists in the craft from Jordan and India. While they’re a popular feature in European, US and Asian countries, he says there’s nothing of its kind yet here in New Zealand.
“We have a very vast range,” explains Rajesh. “We can customise designs, for example, in kids’ rooms we can incorporate mathematics, stars, moons and hearts; we have designs for different ages and different moods.”

Now based in New Zealand after years working in the design field in India, Designer Homes has so far completed five homes in Auckland, but Rajesh has chosen to base himself in Christchurch. Because of the local interest, he is now in the process of creating a full show home in Rolleston so people can visit, understand the products on offer and discuss any questions they may have. “We create homes with the ‘wow’ factor… so seeing is believing.”

During your own project, Rajesh can guide you through every step of the process, working alongside a passionate team of designers, planners, architects, painters and carpenters. They can assist with everything from floor planning, to remodelling and will meet you onsite for quotes and progress meetings.

So, if you’re bored of the standard designs on offer, or want to personalise your home with your own unique taste and flair, give Designer Homes a call today to discuss the many ideas on offer to give your home a brand-new makeover. The possibilities are endless.


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



Weir Architecture

Space Magic: Weir Architecture

Weir Architecture designs buildings which maximise each site’s potential, plus interiors which seem to extend beyond their footprint. These achieve seamless flow to outside spaces.


Weir Architecture


Hire the right architectural firm and a house becomes far more than accommodation. Similarly with a commercial building. Basic requirements will be superseded; unspoken wishes fulfilled. When it comes to enhancing the exterior look and feel of a dwelling or building, Robert Weir believes in the efficacy of a mixture of materials, textures and varied roof lines.

The Weir architectural team designs each home individually to a client’s brief, providing spaces which manage to both provoke and reward its residents. “As founding members of the NZ Green Build, we’re strong believers that incorporating green principles and creating highly thermally rated building envelopes to minimise energy usage are fundamental aspects of excellent design,” Robert says.

This holds true for both residential and commercial projects, regardless of the attendant levels of innovation and complexity. The Weir team, working closely with award-winning master builders, has itself picked up many national and local awards. Currently working on projects throughout the South Island, Robert says he’s looking to grow the business in Wanaka and other central Otago areas.



Find out more by emailing or call into 226 Barbadoes Street, Christchurch to peruse and discuss design options. Phone 03 377 4900 or 021 239 6052.


Loan Market

The loan masters: Loan Market

Buying a house, whether your first or tenth, can be a complicated process. The benefits of working with a mortgage broker are well established.


Loan Market


“People are time poor these days,” says Loan Market Mortgage Advisor Nathan Miglani. “I can provide clients with top quality service, backed up by a team with 27 years’ experience in banking. We are available seven days a week and we work for our clients, not the banks.” Nathan’s been doing this for seven years. “I consider one of the most important aspects of my service is ensuring clients have a thorough understanding of their situation and what will suit their needs now and in the future.”

If you are considering buying your first home, Nathan and his team have some sound advice and his service is free (there may be some exceptions but it’s very rare). Navigating sometimes tricky and complicated processes is what Nathan does best. “Banking policy changes so quickly, it’s sometimes hard even for us to keep up. Some banks will lower their deposit requirement to five percent, others require 10 percent. What’s the difference between a Welcome Home Loan and a normal home loan? What happens if you want to buy at auction? What if the property is on a deadline sale? When do you need a building inspection, and when do you contact a lawyer?”


These and any other questions Nathan can answer for you. “At our first meeting, I’ll help clients understand how much they can borrow, what lender will work best for them and what costs they are looking at.” A full review of your financial position is made, and it may be that some tweaking, such as consolidation of short term debt, will put you in a better position to negotiate a mortgage deal. Help with this is on hand at Loan Market.

If you are relying on selling your existing home to buy another, this creates a further set of challenges, more complicated than buying a first home. You may not necessarily know exactly how much you will get for your home, and therefore you may not know how much you have to negotiate with on another house, including the required deposit. That’s where Nathan can help, too.


“Before you even think about going to the market, let’s catch up,” Nathan says. “Because you need to fully understand the numbers you have to work with.” Restructuring existing home loans, separation matters, business loans, and the fast-growing but immensely complicated field of development finance are all areas where Nathan and his team also excel. With an in-depth understanding of all banks and lending institution’s policies, Nathan and his team, in 2018, had 203 settlements worth nearly $100m.

This solid record and vast experience Nathan brings to every one of his clients.


Contact Nathan on 021 0212 0555 or 0800 100 300.


Neil Rich Builders

Award-winning experience: Neil Rich Builders

Giving you peace of mind during the build and renovation process of your next or existing home is paramount. With Neil Rich, you have that peace of mind.


Neil Rich Builders


Neil Rich has been part of the building industry for more than 50 years. After completing his apprenticeship, he spent many years undertaking a variety of projects around Christchurch, gaining vital experience of building techniques and materials along the way. Going out on his own allowed him to hone his skills and gain a unique understanding of the Canterbury building scene. It was this insight and expertise which led him to establish Neil Rich Builders Ltd.

With the help of a select few full-time builders working rain or shine, Neil has built up the business into an award-winning building company with many satisfied clients, many of whom have been back several times for future builds and projects.
Neil’s latest completed project is six high quality two-bedroom town houses overlooking the Avon River, designed by Wayne Seebeck from Seebeck Design Group.


Neil Rich Builders


Situated on the corner of Stanmore Road and Glades Avenue, the building consists of partly coloured steel cladding on some walls and the rest is Rockcote and cedar. All homes on site come with an outdoor courtyard and single garage. Neil Rich builders will cater to all your needs for home renovations, new builds and repairs.


For more information on what Neil and his team can do you for you, phone 027 451 4323 or visit