Building A Home in The South Island

If you’re looking into house plans in NZ, particularly in the deep south, you may already have an idea that home building in the South Island has specific requirements, mostly in the heating department. This year, Classic Builders team expanded from the Otago region and opened an office in Christchurch, and we’ve come to know exactly what it takes to build a warm, lasting home in the south.

Popular interior ideas for the south

Popular colours and features of South Island houses include 45 degree pitched roofs, cedar accents and colours that mimic the mountain ranges and natural features including greys, cedar, blacks, whites, stone features. These same colours can be easily implemented in the home’s interior. Think warm-toned vinyl planks, grey walls, monochrome kitchens and stone benchtops.

Because of the chill of the south, many home builders upgrade their standard bathtub to a luxurious standalone bath or a larger tub. After a day hitting the slopes or paying in the snow, it’s great to come back to an extra luxurious bathtub. If you’re more of a hot shower type of person, consider upgrading to a spacious double shower or a rainfall shower for the warm fuzzies.

Think carefully about the windows

Windows are the biggest source of heat loss in a home as it’s very easy for heat to move through glass. Double-glazing is important throughout NZ, but it’s especially important in regions like Otago and Canterbury. If you don’t already know how double-glazing works, it’s an easy concept. Instead of using just one pane of glass, the windows feature two or more, with a pocket of gas between them. The gas is a poor heat conductor, which means that the movement of heat is much slower between the panes, keeping warmth where it should be, inside! Our houses are all well-insulated and double glazed as a bare minimum to ensure you don’t feel the chill of the cold South.

If you can’t let go of the idea of a ceiling-to-floor length windows to make the most of your gorgeous views of The Remarkables or Craigieburn Valley, there is an easy solution. Curtains and blinds can help block heat transfer, especially if they’re thermal lined.

Pay attention to where the sun will be

Where your windows should be installed depends on where your home sits on the compass. Typically, you’d want to limit the number and size of windows facing south and try to place any larger windows to the north to capture heat where possible. Beyond ensuring your windows are in a good place in relation to the rising and setting of the sun, you should think about how the sun is going to hit your exterior walls too. At Classic Builders this is something we consider when it comes to choosing the right house plans for the section you have in mind.

Something else that’s gaining more popularity in the NZ home building market is the use of thermal mass, e.g. stone or concrete. These materials soak up heat well, which means using stone in places that catch a lot of sun during the day can be an excellent way to keep your property warm for free, as it releases the heat slowly throughout the night. Simple, elegant home designs also keep heat better. The bigger your home, and the more corners it has, the smarter you’ll have to be with your insulation. Read our blog for more info on building to make the most of light.

Ready to talk about your home down south?

As experienced house builders in Queenstown, Otago and Christchurch, Canterbury, we know what it takes to deliver. Talk to our team today!