This young couple has big dreams to own their own spot under the Queenstown sky, preferably with a ski field as their backyard. How they’re making it happen is quite extraordinary.
Wondering how this story made it to our blog?
Well, the lady in this dream setting happens to be the revenue manager at the Heritage Queenstown. And frankly, their story is very intriguing and inspiring.
“There was a day in the caravan when I was preparing dinner and couldn’t peel the carrots because they had frozen!” says Alexandria Appelman.
Alexandria and husband, Will, have been living in a caravan on the site of their new home since March this year – just before winter, and shortly after they tied the knot.
“It’s not your average honeymoon, but has certainly been a bittersweet time, giving us memories we’ll cherish forever,” says Alexandria.
Alexandria and Will’s caravan journey began like most other couples; looking for a home, but unable to find anything in their budget in New Zealand’s pressured real estate market. The one thing the duo was not willing to compromise on was the location – Queenstown had to be their home.
“We actually wanted to buy the neighboring plot, but that didn’t eventuate,” says Alexandria. “And while the previous owners had no intentions of selling this piece of land, it took a lot of persuasion and persistence to finally convince them otherwise – must be a skill I acquired on the job.”
The plot is beautifully located on the foothill of Cardrona, a ski resort in the winter and mountain biking park through summer. For the couple who love skiing and mountain biking, it couldn’t get better.
But buying the plot was only the start of the journey.
“When we bought the land, it was not flat, had no power or septic tank. We flattened the plot with help of a mate who has a digger and moved in, living in our caravan,” adds Alexandria. “We had a generator and toilet was very much camp style.”
While some might call moving into a caravan on-site just before winter, when temperatures drop down to -11 degrees, a bit foolhardy, Alexandria and Will would not have it any other way.
“We are stoked to own this piece of land and wanted to save every dollar possible to make our dream home a reality. And so renting was out. Besides we needed to be on-site to do much of the groundwork ourselves, juggling full-time jobs with the build.”
Alexandria is a revenue manager at Heritage Queenstown and Will is a digital marketing specialist. Luckily for her, she has a lot of flexibility at work and could easily work ‘out of her caravan’. Office became part home, a place for a warm shower and the host of her work wardrobe.
Many evenings and weekends were spent laying down the foundations of their home and writing the resource consent for their house themselves.
“I actually enjoyed the process of writing the resource consent,” says Alexandria of a job most people run a mile away from. “Money was tight and hiring a professional was out of the question. With a bit of resourcefulness, like finding and using their neighbour’s resource consent as a guide on the council website, and a lot of patience, I managed to complete the process by myself. It helped that I am by profession a very procedure-orientated and organized person. These skills definitely made the task on hand easier.”
The arduous work and living has paid off. Alexandria and Will have completed the foundation work, getting power, connecting to council sewer and ready to submit resource consent. The actual house build has been contracted out and should be completed by middle of 2018.
The last word for others taking on full-time jobs and a house build together?
“Get creative. Don’t ever accept the first quote for a job – always shop around,” says Alexandria. “And while you’re it, enjoy the ride.”
New Zealand’s largest suite style accommodation provider, Heritage Hotels and CityLife Hotels offer New Zealand’s pre-eminent collection of four-star plus hotels in prime locations in all major destinations around the country.
The group is known to consistently offer all guests with a superior accommodation choice, coupled with the international experience and superior service that sets our group apart from the rest.
Heritage Hotel Management specialises in strategic hotel management, ensuring world-class services and facilities continue to be a strong part of New Zealand’s tourism industry.