Heritage & History

It’s hard to believe that there can be a positive outcome from a devastating fire, but Andy, Hana, Andy’s mother Merrel, and their family have taken a life-changing (and understandably devastating) situation and turned this tragedy into a brand-new beginning.

There is something very special about a home that has been passed through generations. Andy’s grandmother owned the original house on the site which became the home for Andy’s mother and even Andy himself. The home passed through the family and became a rental property owned by Andy and his mother.

catastrophe leads to opportunity

In 2019 the original house was significantly renovated to be ready for new tenants. However, a power box issue resulted in a fire not long after the tenant had moved in. Fortunately, the tenant wasn’t there at the time, and nobody was hurt, but the damage was catastrophic, and progressing with a new build was the most economical decision.

The family approached Classic Builders Waikato and under the guidance of their Building Consultant they explored the option of rebuilding a single dwelling or maximising the potential of the land and building two dwellings on the site.

MFP Andy And Hana Miller + Section (002)

One dwelling or two?

The Classic Builders team worked closely with the engineering company to optimise the site within the restraints of the covenant to adhere to the council’s historic aesthetic, while getting more from the existing land. The team worked on a site plan that included two separate titles and dwellings which resulted in the final development plan.

‘The whole process was well managed, and our Building Consultant worked with the company to prepare the drawings for the council. There were lots of questions and the team made sure we got the right answers.’

The Process

As parents of four children, and business owners, Hana and Andy had a lot on their plate and they knew that there would be a challenge to fit everything in but the experience of the Classic Builders team made the process painless by providing great ideas of how to optimise the section.

‘We have had amazing team members throughout the process. Our Building Consultant was fantastic helping us with the practicality of the plans.’

Expert guidance made a big difference to the outcome and the team’s experience allowed for simple solutions to make the absolute most out of the space, and get more from their land, throughout the entire process.

'We were trying to fit as much as we could into the houses and managed to fit in an extra bathroom in the front house, so it had an ensuite and a bathroom. We ended up making the garage slightly smaller to add bedroom and living space. It was those little tips that come with experience that enabled us to achieve what we wanted.’


The Experience

Given that the homes were being built for resale, both Andy and Hana had to make some astute choices about what other people would like. The Hamilton Selection Centre, where they were able to choose colours and materials, made the process of designing the interiors an inspiring and fun experience.

‘The colour session was cool and the Selection Centre in Hamilton was great. Had it been out of a catalogue, it would have been quite overwhelming but seeing it in the flesh and saying oh that door with that handle or that socket and that architrave, seeing it all in real life, makes the process very cool. Working with Lucy was fun, it was quite an exciting process.'

'The first house build was right in the middle of Covid but the only delays were due to Level 4 lockdowns, we had no delays with contractors or materials throughout the entire process. That buying power is critical for house builds and we have several friends building with other companies who had a lot of delays and we were like ‘our is almost done!’.'

Advice & Closing Comments

Hana had some great advice for someone about to embark on a journey of building new.

‘Go with a reputable company that have solid supply chain relationships and really consider how you live in your home and the practicality of where things are. We choose to take out the hot water cylinder and used gas instead which was a great way to create more room for storage.’

‘We really enjoyed the process, and it was very rewarding to move from planning to driving past and seeing each stage happen so quickly. It was so fast!’

Miller Outside New Home