Leeston Farm House
It is a serious challenge to take on a project that requires full restoration and substantial extension of a grand old Colonial Villa from the mid 1800s.
A home needing substantial repair from earthquake damage, and additional strengthening so it would be all the more resilient for the next 150 years.
And I guess this has been done to hundreds of homes in Canterbury since 2010, but here is a major point of difference here: most damaged ‘triple brick’ homes did not survive and were demolished, partly due to the very large cost of such projects, but also because most home owners were happy to have a new one in its place; not so these owner’s, they genuinely valued the nostalgia and sense of their family’s journey embodied in their old home, that only living history can create.
And so, it was to be restored; from the foundations to the chimney tops and everything in between. Carefully intertwining 14 tons of reinforcing steel into the horizontal and vertical structure, subtly concealed behind exterior plaster columns and cladding, and within floor and wall structures; even beneath decorative plaster cornice mouldings.
Truly a work of art in its finished form; harbouring a latticework of power deep within.
Of course, when work is short every building company seems to profess having the expertise required to follow a set of plans, but in reality, no amount of detailing and drafting on paper will provide the information and architectural ‘sympathy’ necessary to create a near seamless outcome on a project such as this.
Character Builders live and breathe old homes, this is their domain; it’s where they train their people and it’s where they enjoy their work.
And whilst their carpenters are equally capable creating in any architectural environment, it takes real understanding and the practical application of ingrained principles to achieve both efficiency and quality of work in this arena.
Working closely with the owners and maintaining a strong working relationship, Character Builders have achieved a significant win for Canterbury’s architectural heritage, and something we can all be proud of.