Mel and Rob Ferguson choose a Stovax Studio wood burner for their mountain property
Mel & Rob, Jack's Point, New Zealand
August 28, 2018
Set against a wild backdrop, Mel’s and Rob’s self-build looks out onto The Remarkables, New Zealand. Loving the wood burning lifestyle, they opted for a Stovax Studio wood burner to complete their earthy aesthetic.
Tell us a bit about the project and how it started.
We had previously been people who liked to have a lot of say in the design of a home. Upon buying our section in Jack’s Point, Queenstown, however, a lot of this choice was taken away from us.
Jack’s Point is an area that has quite strict building conditions that you must stick to. The homes have to be architecturally designed by particular approved Architects, there are few cladding options, colour choice is limited, house design has to be approved by the Jack’s Point board and there are plenty of restrictions around what is allowed and not allowed be seen from the road and or golf course.
This meant that we had to trust very much in our chosen Architect to design a home that met our needs, based on discussions and emails that we were having to and fro. Though hard initially, this was also great for us, as we have so many amazing viewing pathways in our home out to the most beautiful of views that we would have never spotted and gained on our own design.
We had things that we weren’t willing to pass up on – like having a log burner for example, or the size we wanted our bedrooms to be etc, but otherwise our home was very much tailored to our family and our requests by our Architect, Daniel Friedrich of DF Design.
In simplest terms, we requested a design that was functional, comfortable and energy efficient with a strong focus on sustainability, captures the stunning Jack’s Point views while creating privacy and flow, all while fitting with the regulations of the sub-division, making a visual impact and standing out slightly against many similar looking homes due to its bespoke concept. And it was from there, that we ended up with our beautiful, dream home.
What made you choose this location?
Upon deciding we were moving to Queenstown from Christchurch, we started looking at sections all over town. You can’t really get a bad place to live in Queenstown; everywhere you look there is incredible beauty surrounding you. But then we arrived in Jack’s Point and we both knew immediately that that was where we had to be. Literally nestled against the bottom of the Remarkables, and with views out to Lake Wakatipu, Cecil and Bayonet Peaks and over to the Queenstown Gondola on the hill, it is quite an incredible place to build and live.
How long has the project taken? What is left to complete?
From slab down, it took 5 months for us to move into our home. We moved in over Christmas, which is never really a good idea as all the tradespeople involved in the build were under enormous pressure to finish all their jobs all over Queenstown. This meant we moved into a house with a few things still to be completed. However, we have now been in the house for 8 months and all that is left to complete really is the landscaping. A builder’s house is never really complete though… there is always something that can be done!
Had you always wanted a wood burner?
Yes. Both my husband and I loved wood burners. I grew up with a log burner in Invercargill and remember fondly as a kid jumping out of the bath and immediately being sent down to the fire in the living area to get changed into our pyjamas in the warmth, and let the fire dry our hair off. When we moved to Christchurch, my parents bought a home with the 1970s styled diesel internal heating system, but it also had a log burner… the heater hardly ever got used! When my husband and I built our first home together in 2014-2015, one of the things we loved most about our section was that it was in an area that allowed log burners and this was important to us. Building while pregnant with our first child, we were so excited to sit around the fireplace through winter, creating memories as a new family and we certainly did that! So when this build became a reality for us there was never a question over whether a log burner would be put in or not, it was a necessity – it has very much become a way of life for us.
What drew you to the Stovax product?
It was actually our architect who recommended Stovax first. We have a large open plan living area, so wanted a fire that could fill this space both aesthetically and practically. Whatever we chose had to be something pretty impressive in size. Our ceiling is an off centred cathedral ceiling, creating an internal architectural feature in the large space. To ensure that the fire didn’t get ‘lost in the space’ it really needed to be a large, impressive feature in itself. It was also going to be sitting against a stone feature wall that stretched about halfway up the wall to a large window taking in the expansive views of the peaks of The Remarkables, so the fire needed to be able to be free standing with a standalone flue. There was not one other single fire on the market that got near competing with what our Stovax could offer us – it was perfect for our design and remains the most perfect choice we could have made for our home.
What has been the biggest challenge of the project?
As with all builds, there have been a few challenges that have popped up along the way. The architectural design of our home brought with it a few more challenging moments than the more simple homes we had built previously.
The geometric design brings with it five metre high ceilings that let in views and light above a schist-stone feature wall, and the roofline contour mirrors the dramatic Remarkables backdrop to the east. Gorgeous vertical larch cladding stretching higher than previously cladded homes, and some very heavy triple glazed, aluminium windows with aesthetic larch timber framing on the inside made for some slightly longer and physically challenging days here and there. Rob also built all the frames himself from scratch, rather than ordering the usual pre-cut frames that are faster to put up. It was certainly a legacy of love and it made it all the more rewarding upon completion.
And the most rewarding?
There are so many moments when it would be so easy to say: “no we can pay someone else to do that job”, or “let’s take the easy option for that decision” or even “let’s go for the cheaper option”. What made building this home so rewarding is that we made all of our decisions largely with our heart: what would suit our family most, what would fit best with our way of life, what would take the best care of our children and ensure they grow up in a sustainable, healthy and comfortable environment.
We wanted to very much focus on producing a home that was clever; not only did the home heat up well, but it retained heat and used it sensibly. Decisions to stick to natural and sustainable products for our build might not have been the cheapest option at the time, but it certainly is paying us back in huge amounts already and that is incredibly rewarding in itself. From choosing a fully insulated MaxRaft floor slab, to choosing woollen carpets, triple glazed windows, self-oiling larch cladding and of course our Stovax log burner which uses a renewable resource, is clean air approved, efficient and strikingly beautiful.
Please note that Stovax & Gazco accept no liability for their installation suitability, safety or building regulations conformance. The images shown on these pages are from real independent homes, many taken before installation is complete, and these form no basis of an installation recommendation by Stovax or Gazco. Please consult the complete installation instructions for your chosen product and consult with an appropriately qualified person for your own installation.
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