the land

Situated on Island Bay in Beach Haven, Auckland. The land has offered us many challenges, yet these challenges have become the strengths in the final design.



We purchased the land in March 2015 for $435,000 just before section prices skyrocketed in the area.

It was a private sale, the housing market was escalating and getting out of our reach, and even though we didn’t really have a plan we just knew that this was the area that we wanted to raise a family in. So we bought with Corban loving the idea of the challenge to make this work.

It is a 600 sqm site with some pretty difficult terrain to navigate around, hence why this land has been vacant for over 20 years.

To get an idea on the difficulty of our site have a read of our Preparing the Land Blog Post


Why so difficult? Let me take a deep breath while I rattle off these points for you.

  • This is an extremely steep site with some gradients as steep 40 degrees.

  • We had a public sewer pipe running diagonally through the property

  • Height restrictions imposed by the neighbours, which makes it difficult to build up.

  • A power pole situated right in the middle of the entrance of the property

  • The main fibre line that connects NZ to the rest of the world runs right past our gate. If we were to damage the cable it would cost $1,000,000 a minute in losses to the economy according to the NEC patrol man. We only found this out after we had completed all of the excavation of the property. No one even knew it was there, not even Vector or the ‘before you dig websites’.

  • Major consultation required by Council for Visual and environmental impact reports. Ecological Assessment reports as well as requiring consultation and consent from 13 different Iwi to get consent to build as it backs onto a Significant Ecological area.


The Land plans

This is a view of our land plan prior to any earthworks.

As you can see it is a pretty steep site, and so the only way we can build was to carve out a lot of the earth to be able to establish a decent sized footprint for the house.

The plan was to have the house half cut into the cliff and the other half hanging in the trees, almost like a cantilevered tree house

We like to think that we are building a tree house of sorts, as a lot of the house will be nestled among the bush.

This image doesn’t really show it but where the taller trees are on the right, is a total drop off point with some parts as steep as 45 degree angles.

Island Bay (2 of 15).jpg


To prepare the land for the house build there was a large list of TO-DO’s