Case study – Swannanoa

A sun filled home in the country

Our client presented us with a detailed concept for this timber cladded home in North Canterbury. Alongside our architect we turned the concept in to a working design which maximised our client’s living objectives within budget. Being a handyman, our client was set from the outset on completing many of the related projects himself, such as the impressive sized decking surrounding the entire home. To see a neat ‘before’ photo of the house, ie before the owner installed the deck and garden, visit our Houzz profile.



House - Building

“We approached a few building companies and weren’t reassured by the vague responses when it came to budget – we were getting answers like ‘it’ll cost about this much’. We’ve built on previous occasions and know how important it is to be specific with regards to costings because things can snowball if they’re not managed closely. A big tick for us when selecting Fraemohs was they were very fast and accurate on the costings – it gave us the confidence about budget we were after. As were a few other things like their experience building around Hanmer and Castle Hill which have similar foundational requirements as our place. We had a very specific brief and we also wanted to do quite a few things ourself – like the decking and access points. For whatever reason other companies we spoke with had reservations about allowing us to manage anything ourself but with Fraemohs it just wasn’t an issue, nothing was ever a problem. ”

– Phil, Swannanoa




Based largely on our client’s own specifications, we developed the design borrowing ideas and proven approaches from some of our standard plans, like the Nikau. The home features high windows to really soak up the North Canterbury sun, ensuring cost effective passive warmth in the winter, and a beautiful sun-soaked home in the summer. Pitched ceilings throughout most parts of the home provide a spacious feeling. Large bedrooms are complimented by a large master ensuite with walk-in wardrobe and windows to take in the surroundings, as well as a second ensuite and WC. In all, there is considerably more squeezed in to this 190 square metre space than one would expect, on the back of some very well considered design and planning.

Canterbury - Real Estate

The build



A relatively high spec home, we worked hard to meet the 6 month build target. A well oiled team emerged managing the build process in the form of Phil, Rob and Scott (Client, Builder and Project Manager respectively), with their combined efficiency and decisiveness ultimately meaning a smooth project all round. When building a home there are an estimated 300,000 things which could cause delays or disruptions to the build. And for this reason we like to ensure our clients are fully informed and prepared for the building process. Because Phil our client had built previously, he was well aware of the potential for things to go astray without proper planning and management. So he was always well organised and across the specifications which really contributed to a smooth build.





Our clients had a really good idea of what they wanted in the way of interior selections. A few conversations were had with our Colour Consultant, as well as Scott the Project Manager about what would work well from a colour and technical perspective, but the ultimate choices were made by the client. Neutral colours, timber matchlining blended with crisp apple colour flooring, dark red colour wardrobe joinery and tiles for contrast were the choices made and perhaps you agree – they work really well.



Something which played a big part in the smoothness of the whole build process was the stability and consistency of the personnel. The Project Manager and Builder were both excellent, but they were also the only people in those positions we dealt with the entire time – you build relationships with them and they develop a deep understanding of the project which definitely doesn’t happen when personnel are constantly changing as we’d experienced in previous builds. We’re really happy with the whole process – it came within budget and only 2 weeks past the target date which was mostly because of a small Council issue. Nothing we regret or would change – we’d highly recommend Fraemohs for anyone looking to build, we’re really happy with our home.”


“Something anyone can do to help themselves complete a successful build is really pay attention to the detail and understand what you’re signing up to – know what’s in the specifications before you sign off on them. And speak up if you spot something not quite right too – a quality building company will want you to get your home right so things like that shouldn’t be an issue.”


This is a custom designed, 3 bedroom home which maximises the natural warmth of North Canterbury’s plentiful sun.

If you like it, then browse the Timbermode range of homes. They’re very popular and can be assembled as kitsets, or we can build it for you. Each design can be built straight from the plan, can be customised to your needs or even 100% architecturally designed from scratch, 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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