The Hunt for a Home Begins
When Katrina and Todd Wearne decided on a small home for themselves, they considered a range of tiny homes but found most of these were too small. The Wearnes were looking for a quality build, specifically they wanted a well finished house with quality fittings.
They weren’t sure where to go until their bank (Westpac) recommended Able Spaces as a tiny home provider. They had also found out their neighbour was going ahead with a home from Able Spaces. The Wearnes Googled Able Spaces, liked what they saw and arranged a meeting with Norma.
“When we heard Able Spaces were upgrading from panel houses to new Durapanel homes their offerings became even more appealing for us,” explained Katrina.
“We met Norma, who was super helpful, organised and really knows her stuff. We were really impressed. One company we had met with only had their website as a resource – we didn’t get that with Norma. She had a range of plans and samples to show us– not to mention her office/show home! Her level of personal service was superb.”
A further aspect important to Katrina and Todd was that Able Spaces was local. Upper Hutt was within driving distance from the Wearnes, in Otaki. It was important for them to oversee the house as it was developing. Katrina explained, “We were a bit nervous as we had made a lot of changes so being able to see the build in progress was a big plus! If you’re building a normal house on a site you’d want to go and visit every now and again and it was great for us to be able to do that and look at everything as it was developing.”
Customisation options were equally important to the Wearnes. “We changed pretty much everything, We’re near the beach and have a stream running through our section, so we chose vinyl for the lounge and kitchen as we didn’t want to worry about sandy feet on carpet and that sort of thing. As it turned out, we ended up getting a new puppy as well so the vinyl has come in very handy!”
The Wearnes reflected, “There were plenty of customisation options available too. Able Spaces’ kitchen joiner has done a fantastic job! It’s a good quality kitchen and the other suppliers Norma works with, like Plumbing World for example, meant we were able to choose a really nice big shower with a sliding door. Everything was available to the standard we wanted it and Norma worked with us on that. For example, we wanted a particular vanity and basin so she got that for us. No problems.”
Katrina continued, “When you make a lot of changes and amendments, you’re always worried that something’s going to get missed. I can’t think of one single thing that was missed. Norma was on top of everything and everything turned out how we had expected it and better! We have a special site that looks out over the Tararua Ranges with a stream running through the end of the section, so to make the most of the views we’ve got big decks on each side making our home perfectly designed for outdoor living and entertaining. The big ranch sliders on each side of the lounge means we can open everything up. It’s just what we wanted and more, as we even get a glimpse of sea view which we hadn’t expected.”
The build got underway before the building consent was issued, on target for a timely delivery, however there was a setback due to some regulatory changes in regard to earthquakes which had complicated things. And, with a stream running through their land, the property was in a flood zone so had to be positioned up on poles.
While Katrina chose to project manage the different solutions to the problems the Wearnes faced, they found Norma to be "approachable and super helpful” and in the end, their transportable home sat at the Able Spaces workshop for two months while the building consent was ironed out. Able Spaces maintained efficiency throughout the process, delivering the home to site as soon as practicable, on 10 October 2023.
Looking back, Katrina said the delay worked to their advantage as Norma and her team were also able to install last minute feature walls and some tiling.
“How would I rate Able Spaces? Five out of five ...
... and I never usually give top marks to anyone. Norma’s communication was fantastic. She kept us in the loop, sent us photos and videos between visits as the build progressed, and she was super helpful and on top of everything.”
"We called in one day to take our family through the house. Norma showed us some new tiling in her office/show home which we really liked so, yip, no problem, that tiling was added into the build as well.”
“We are very happy with Norma and her team and the level of communication. We also had a colour session with Sam (their interior designer). We were very happy with the quality of our home and what we paid for it and we’ve received so many great comments and feedback - even people walking along the road make comments, like “Your house looks so cool; it’s really amazing.” We are super happy with our little home and look forward to many happy years here!”