Summer Big Bed Sale On Now!

The Registered Master Builders House of the Year Awards is an annual competition celebrating building excellence in New Zealand. We have supported the event for many years now, sponsoring the McKenzie & Willis Interior Design award in the both the Canterbury and Southern events. This prestigious Lifestyle Award is awarded for excellence in workmanship, creativity and innovation.

Among a suite of awards, DCD was awarded the McKenzie & Willis Interior Design Award as well as the Regional Supreme Award at the Southern House of the Year event. They will now proceed to the National House of the Year Awards. We caught up with Dennis Dowling (Director for DCD) to fill us in on the details of this incredible new build.

Southern House of The Year 1

Southern House of The Year 2

With breath-taking views, exquisite detailing and an astute builder at the helm, Te Toka (The Rock) is an awe-inspiring example of beautiful design, craftsmanship and construction expertise.

At 820sqm spread out over a single level, the sheer scale of this new build has to be seen to be believed. ‘I truly appreciated the scale of the home when I saw a 6 wheeler dump truck do a 3 point turn in the living room during the build’ says Dennis. Having worked on a wide variety of commercial buildings, Dennis as the Director of DCD Ltd is no stranger to complex large scale work but he acknowledged the size of this home presented its own unique challenges, ‘getting the proportions right so that everything looked to scale, required an extra level of care.’

Southern House of The Year 7

Without DCD’s discerning eye for detail, the interior was at risk of looking cavernous and the exterior could have seemed out of place in the landscape, but the end result couldn’t have been further from this. DCD tells us it was all about small elements making a big difference; ‘In the Great Room we used recessed ceilings to create a series of different spaces within the one.’ This clever interior design trick helps to break up the large open plan living in a subtle yet impactful way. In fact, it’s these ingenious details that define the home. The superbly crafted negative detail that runs across all the skirting and around all doors is an outstanding example of the level of detail in the home and the outstanding workmanship recognised by the judges. The negative detail continues throughout the home, providing an uninterrupted visual cue that links the entire house together.

Southern House of The Year 6

Southern House of The Year 5

Being a specialist in sustainable, thermally efficient construction, one aspect Dennis loved about was the Client’s openness to the use of sustainable materials and willingness to allow DCD to drive sustainability and resilience.

The house was designed to be self-sufficient and capable of being ‘off the grid’ with high performance features a must. Dennis also had a very clear idea of how the home would come together with its natural landscape, intending for it to appear as if ‘laid seamlessly with the land’. To do this, DCD planned a meticulous excavation so they could use the leftover quarried rocks in both the external and internal cladding as well as the landscape.

Southern House of The Year 3

Southern House of The Year 4

In the background, tying the whole build together was the unique relationship between DCD and the home owner. The technically engaged owner was involved from the get go, and there was complete trust both ways. ‘There was great dialogue between us and we both thrived off the same sort of challenges, this meant we were both consistently lifting the bar to ensure the best outcome’ says Dennis. And lift the bar they did, the outcome of this relationship is a home that pushes the boundaries, leaving a long-lasting and coveted legacy.


The team here at McKenzie & Willis were very impressed with the high calibre of entries and offer huge congratulations to all the winners who took home awards from the evening. We wish DCD the very best of luck at the National House of the Year Awards. To see the full list of winners visit the Registered Masterbuilders House of the Year website.

Photo credit: Registered Master Builders House of the Year.

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