Case study – Governors Bay

Home by the sea

Our client came to us with a house design, already drawn up by an architect. When their original builder pulled out of the project, they were left with house plans but no one to build them. We worked with our client to modify the plans such that their original architectural vision could be realised, at a price they could afford. 

Open plan - Interior Design Services

“One of the cool things was Fraemohs were willing to try something different as we had found that most building companies try and box you in to one of their existing house plans. But Fraemohs had no problem picking up on our existing plans. The challenge for them was to take our architect’s plans and turn them in to a plan which could be built within our budget. And they did this – we were just thrilled. It was just so easy with them – nothing was a problem. We were really lucky too in that we had a good relationship with our architect, who was excellent. And he allowed us to modify the plans he’d designed which was really nice, he felt a bit sorry for us that the original builder pulled out because of the pricing. The build process itself was flawless. Jason who managed the build from Fraemohs is fantastic, he’s an amazing guy. And the Fraemohs team is fantastic too; 10 out of 10 for the build by Fraemohs. Everyone warns about the stress you’re going to experience during a build and none of that happened at all, it was just smooth and easy. Zero stress. ”

– Mala, Governors Bay


On inspecting the site we confirmed with our client that we could build on it, but some changes to the original designs would be required to make it fit within their budget. The original design included a concrete flooring system which, unfortunately was going to limit our client in various ways, and drain a disproportionate amount of the budget. Timber provided a robust alternative which could more easily work with the contours of the building site.

Working with timber enabled us to more fully separate the living and sleeping areas, represented by the step-down between the two sections. Adding to the distinctive architectural look and feel in the front part of the home, and remaining true to the original architectural vision. We suggested the negative detail ply ceiling which struck the right balance between architectural aesthetics and cost.

The long, straight shape of the section fairly well predetermined the shape of the home, which itself is long and straight. One half of our client is an engineer by trade, and there’s a ‘man cave’ situated alongside the 3 car garage building in the rear of the property for his projects.

Living room - Interior Design Services


Laying the foundation for an architectural home in Governors Bay, Christchurch with a 3 car garage


“Ours started out as a typical horror story where we had designs drawn up by an architect, but the builder pulled out while the plans were being prepared for CCC consent. We approached 5 or 6 other builders but none of them could build it either. And with each builder we approached it’d take them 6 – 8 weeks to get back to us with their answer. Which meant a lot of waiting and wasted time – about a year in total. We’d also considered loads of other options – everything from panel homes to container homes. My husband is an engineer though and wanted ‘tried and true’; he didn’t want to take the risk on something which might turn out to be New Zealand’s next ‘leaky home’ episode in 20 years’ time…  we looked at some other options too which seemed great, but when we dug deeper learned they were actually far more expensive than their advertised price, and we would get a far better quality finish with a traditional build.”



“One day we wandered in to a Fraemohs show home where we spoke with Shirley. We’d both known Fraemohs forever – since we were kids – but didn’t know they did regular builds as well as timber ones. We’d only ever heard good things about Fraemohs, and reputation was the most influential factor in our decision making criteria. We wanted a building company which had been around for awhile – not some fly-by-nighter which might be gone by tomorrow, and Fraemohs have of course been around forever. We also wanted to work with one of the bigger building companies, because the reality is you get far more for your money than with smaller building companies – you just do, more purchasing power etc. Anyway, Shirley was great, seriously good customer service that woman, and very knowledgeable.”


Master bedroom in an architectural home in Governors Bay, Christchurch with a 3 car garage


Cool architectural home on a narrow section in Governors Bay, Christchurch with a 3 car garage

Bathroom - Interior Design Services

Room for improvement?

“There were a few things we thought could be improved on during other parts of the process, for instance we would receive change orders which had no GST on them. It sounds trivial but can actually be confusing because they add up and if you’re not including the GST can put your budgeting about by a a few thousand dollars. We also wished we’d known more about our upgrade options – for instance, if we’d known additional insulation under the vinyl planks were available from the get-go, we probably would have taken it. And, on handover it would have been useful to have been given a run-through on how to ‘operate’ our modern new home. Our previous home was 100 years old so moving in to this nice new place meant learning a load of new things, and we had no idea how to use some of them! But since the move-in again, Fraemohs have been fantastic. 10 out of 10 to Amanda who always gets things done when we need them, sticking to her guns and getting an issue we have with the kitchen resolved. We’re thrilled with the home, we recommend Fraemohs to everyone we know.”

– Mala, Governors Bay

View from Governors Bay toward Lyttleton


This is a custom designed home with a separate 3 car garage and ‘man cave’. Adapted from architectural designs provided to us by our client, built in our Timbermode style.

If you like this you might want to browse our Timbermode range of homes. They can be built straight from the plan, customised to suit your own needs, or even adapted from pre-existing architectural plans like this one.

Downloadable buyer guides and a full list of inclusions are available on all house design pages. And if you see something you like, simply enquire and we’ll send you further information including prices. 

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