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mothers day gifts from son Here's why this Dunedin couple's 12th new-build will be their last sofa pillow covers

Updated: 2019-09-18 07:46 Views: 125

Their Christmas tree is adorned with homemade gifts and the home filled with art and sculpture. After 11 homes, this new-build will (hopefully) be their last

Doug McConaughy, 47 (structural engineer), Shelley McConaughy, 44 (artist and company director), Oscar, 15mothers day gifts from son, and Eli, 13, plus Rose the cat and six chickens (aka The Girls).

baby pillow set

What would you never do again?

Buy a garage door without checking its suitability. We live in a high wind zone and that is a factor we didn’t fully consider in this instance.

Best lesson learned?

Get several quotes and look carefully at the products or service each supplier is offering.

Best memory in your home?

When the kids first arrived and just really loved having the space to run wild. Oscar cooked food over an open fire in the front yard (before there was a lawn), and Eli dug huge holes and played in the mud.

Total build cost?

Approx $500K (excluding land, earthworks and landscaping)Kitchen joinery $12KKitchen appliances $7KHome office $20KLandscaping ongoing; $3K so farLarge shed $8K

Where have you saved money?

Using macrocarpa cladding instead of cedar; laying the cork flooring ourselves, and paying labour only to the builder (we directly paid all the subcontractors and for all materials). We didn’t pay for a draughtsperson or architect and have also planned and executed all the landscaping.


The flooring – it’s a costly floating cork product. Also, we used blocks for the retaining wall running parallel along the length of the house, as opposed to timber.

What was your best buy and why?

The kitchen; I designed it myself and found a great joiner at a great price.

Buy original art. If you are near an art school, go to their shows and buy the students’ work.

Beg, borrow, steal, love other people’s style ideas and make them your own.

Keep in mind what you’d like to be the feature of the space – a lightshade, artwork, the curtains etc – so you can ensure it isn’t eclipsed.

Scott Eady – sculpture

Madeleine Child and Philip Jarvis – ceramics

Amanda Shanley – ceramics

Philip James Frost – mixed-media paintings

Kiri Mitchell – sculpture and print

John Shewry – sculpture


Oversized windows frame the beautiful view. “I remember standing in the house once the frames went up and being super-happy with the window placements,” says Shelley.




Every year, Shelley forages for leaves, wild red berries and seasonal flowers to make a lush Christmas centrepiece.


The cinder-block wall was designed to passively heat the family home as well as being a nod to Shelley and Doug’s favourite architectural era – the 1960s.


Vintage ceramic deer add to a mid-century table.










View next gallery: See how The Block NZ winners Amy and Stu decorate for Christmas View Gallery

Builder?Paul Kirby BuildersJoiner Mike Cochrane, Bellford Building &; Joinery, Balclutha, 03 418 2986.Electrician Daryl, Trainor Electrical, Port Chalmers, 027 4342 744.Plumber JG Smaill,

Interview by: Annick Larkin. Photography by: Emma MacDonald. Styling by: Alexandra Weston.

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