We all dream of the perfect home, and building one from scratch is a great way to achieve it. But designing and building a home can also be overwhelming – the decisions, the time pressure…the budget.

Even knowing where to start can be a challenge. To help you out, we asked some of our favourite architects their one best piece of advice for someone building their ‘forever home’. Here’s what they said:


“Interview your architect and meet a few at least. A ‘forever home’ is long labour of love and as everything, it has its ups and downs at times. You need to be very comfortable with your architect because it’s often long relationship too. Some of our larger and more detailed residential projects span 5-6 years from the initial meeting to handover, so make sure your personalities, approach and attitude matches that of your architect.”

Kris Keen – Director, Keen Architecture

“Create moments of drama through height and scale, refinement of joinery and spaces that allow flexibility and function

You can create a sense of luxury without having to pay luxury prices on materials.

Trust your designer, and be honest in your thoughts on design elements. A great designer will take your advice on board and interpret it in a clever manner without compromise of the overall design.”

Ben Robertson – Director, Tecture Architects

ask the experts blog.jpg
ask the experts blog.jpg

“Get a great team together as early on as possible with three elements. Architecture, Interior Design and Landscape Design.  You need all three early on and don’t let anyone tell you any different.  The best designs and the most cohesive are born out of a team approach that is organised and streamline - no last minute decisions and costly mistakes!”

Jane McAulay-Frame – Director & Designer , Bespoke Interior Design, Auckland

“Build using the best materials. Don’t go for applied finishes; choose materials that are authentic and true. That way they will last forever with minimal maintenance and won’t date.”

Ian Moore – Ian Moore Architects in Sydney

“Invest in quality, employ a good architect, orientate the house correctly, think about flow, organize everything before you build.”

Craig Rosetti  –  Architect from Melbourne


“Time’s change, families change. My advice would be to plan well into the future…”

Craig South  – Allfrey and South, Christchurch

“Don’t rush it.  It’s always tempting to think that you really need to be at the end-point, but I think you need to enjoy the process.  That way you’re going to make good decisions along the way.”

Carolyn Walker – Quick Architects


“Make it yours. Ignore real estate agents advice to make it for other people. Make the proportions match who and what you are and your personal attributes.”

Vance Bentley - Jessop Architects in Ponsonby, Auckland

“Work out your daily typical routine and what you need space wise to do this. We spent one month living in a motorhome with children over summer. It was a great exercise to discover how little you really need to live.”

Adam Taylor – Adam Taylor Architects


“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. Choose your architect well, be open to new ideas and enjoy the process.” 

Barry Condon  – Company Director, Condon Scott Architects, Wanaka

“The outcome of this project reflects the trust that the owners placed in our expertise. They focused on their functional and performance needs, and left everything else to us. The best way for a client to get what they want is to focus on how they want to live and what they enjoy, and let the architect do the rest.”

Clinton Cole – Director, CplusC Architectural Workshop


“Choose the right consultants and trust their expertise. Work as a team and wherever possible, don’t compromise.”

Richard Cole – Director, Richard Cole Architecture

 “Hire an architect, we offer services that clients may or may not even know they needed. You end up with the added value of a customised solution.”

Bobby Wei – Bates Smart, Melbourne

“The main advice I would give to someone building is detail, detail, detail.  And get it all worked out before the consent process. I’ve seen too many cases of people not being able to change it once the council gets involved.”

Celia Visser from Celia Visser Design, Auckland