Award-winning home ‘a race against time’

Award-winning home ‘a race against time’
The home is nestled into a hillside on a former sheep station Queensbury Hills, on the foothills of the Pisa Range in Central Otago.

Spearhead Developments’ first ever entry into the Registered Master Builders House of the Year competition has had the best result it could hope for – Master Builders Gold award, the Carters New Home $1m to $1.5m category win, the Southern Region Craftsmanship award and to top it all off taking out the Southern Region Supreme House of the Year.
“What I’m most proud of is the fact we won the craftsmanship award” says Nick Mizzi, owner of Spearhead Developments.
“It’s great to have that recognition from the industry.”
The awards mark the successful conclusion of a race-against-time journey for Nick and the Spearhead Developments team, although Nick admits the pressure came from himself rather than his clients, Paul and Denise Costello.
About halfway through the build, Paul was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer which spread rapidly through his body.
“We were going hell for leather to try to get the house finished, so he could enjoy it before his time was up,” Nick says.
“The pressure was put on by myself not them, Paul and Denise were fantastic to work with. We had become really good friends so I was desperate for him to stay in the house before the inevitable happened.
“Around the start of 2018, they stumbled on a trial drug called Loxo which gave him another six months. It was a God send. We had the house pretty much finished come March/April, and Paul sadly passed away in November.”
Nick says the build of this house was Paul’s dream.
He worked hard all his life, and was founding chief of both the New Zealand Superannuation Fund and Australia’s Future Fund.
“He lived a full life, had been very successful professionally, but had never built his own home from scratch before. This was it. He built this beautiful house which he probably would have retired in one day.”
Paul was able to have four or five stays in the house before he could no longer travel, from his home in Melbourne.
The award-winning home is nestled into a hillside on a former sheep station Queensbury Hills, on the foothills of the Pisa Range in Central Otago.
The back of the house is partially buried in the hill, with Spearhead Developments building a 2.2m block wall then backfilling it.
Walking around the back of the house, the roof sits at waist height.
A series of long, thin windows at ground level wrap all the way around the back of the house and provides a view from the bedrooms into the mountains and tussock behind the house.

Award-winning home ‘a race against time’
A series of long, thin windows at ground level wrap around the back of the house.

Entry to the house is also at the rear, and leads into the living area which has 15m by 3.5m of glazing all the way across the front of the house.
“It makes it pretty impressive when you walk in through the front door, you’re hit in the face with the view,” Nick says.
There are only two external sections of totally timber framed wall, and these form two schist panels on either side of the glass wall.
An adjacent 60sqm studio was originally in-tended to be a garage.
“We started building it and Paul and Denise fell in love with the shape of it. It is a smaller version of the house, and they thought it was a waste as a garage. We insulated it, lined the inside of it with Canadian Oak plywood, put in a heat pump, polished the concrete and instead of a garage door we put a 5.5 by 2.2m stacker slider in.”
Finishing the project was a community effort.
Rick Chilman, a neighbour, did the tiling, then he and Nick organised a day of tussock planting.
10 local people who knew Paul and Denise came to site and planted more than 1000 tussocks in one day.
“He was very humbled by that, it really was a good show of support, and goes to show there are still some good people out there.”
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