“I have worked for this client for about five years on his own home out West and his bach – well he calls it a bach!,” says Ryan.
Ryan Bridgens, director of Bridgens Construction & Design, prides himself on producing top quality homes for his customers. He insists that to do so he needs to work with top quality products which, in the case of this striking ‘bach’ on Omaha Beach, includes the use of Firth’s standard half height grey blocks, laid unevenly for a good portion of the exterior walls and as features in parts of the interior.
Ryan has been in business for about 11 years and says that his team of seven work around Matakana, Warkworth Omaha and sometimes as far North as Mangawhai. “I am a hands-on business owner and choose work based on the fact that I want to be on the tools most of the time. I want to ensure our workmanship is of the highest standard. I could grow the business and do less work but I enjoy building and I also want to produce the best quality work. That's what I promise people and that's what they get.”
“I have worked for this client for about five years on his own home out West and his bach – well he calls it a bach!,” says Ryan. “He knew what he wanted from the start and conveyed this to Julian Guthrie his Architect. Between them they came up with this great design.”
“The brief from the owner when we first started discussing what the house would look like, was that all the living had to be on one level and that the design had to consider the coastal conditions,” explains Julian. “A beach environment can be tough so we needed to position the house well to take into account the wind and sun, and to also use products to suit this setting.”
Julian says it is a courtyard-style house which has to cater to strong winds at times but also maximises ocean views while still being connected to the rest of the house. Indoor-outdoor living is crucial in a beach house and this home offers it all while still providing protection from the elements. “One of the other key aims for the design and build was that it would endure and still look good in 20 years. Choosing cedar and blockwork means it will.”
“Once we saw the plans we built a test wall of the blocks to establish the pattern we would use,” says Ryan. “We used Firth’s half high standard 20 series blocks and weren’t overly sure how it would look. The only stipulation was we couldn't use a single block pattern; it had to be doubles and triples. Once the wall was up there was some discussion over whether the walls should be plastered. Eventually it was decided that they would.”
“Many of the exterior block walls are exposed to the interior with the same finish,” adds Julian “So we used Firth HotBloc® for those walls. We wanted the half height blocks to get the long horizontal lines and proportions … although it doubles the laying cost … it was worth it.”
“We were asked to apply a finish to the block work on this house,” says Phil Doughty, Sales & Operations for EuroClad Ltd. “We used a Sto Armat Classic finish using a new finishing technique which was something we designed specifically for that house, called a horizontal block brush finish. We then over coated this with two coats of Sto Cover matt in the colour Wan White. It came up very well and the colour works really well with the cedar boards.”
Ryan says that to produce a high quality home he only wants to work with good quality products. “I always use the guys at Wharehine Concrete (Firth) for my concrete, blocks and paving,” adds Ryan. “Yes we could probably get some of it cheaper if we looked around but I trust the Firth brand as the concrete and masonry are always of the best quality. I can’t afford to use blocks that aren’t consistent in size and quality. I produce a good quality product and so I use good quality products. Tony Smith and the guys at Wharehine give me that.”
“A very cool feature of the house is the Halloween lantern pattern of block work on the wall facing the road,” explains Ryan. “The engineers did well getting the steel in the right places. It’s just another great feature of this house which we are very proud of. I know our clients are very happy. It helps to have a good relationship with your client and suppliers and thankfully we do. This is my favourite house yet. It’s pretty cool.”