Christchurch house with its own astro-turf pitch on the market

A near-new character-inspired home in Christchurch kicks all others out of the park and could even become a training ground for an up-and-coming football star.

The four-bedroom, two-bathroom home at 156 Hackthorne Rd in Cashmere is gaining fans not only for its colonial-inspired modern twist but also for its 125 sq m astro-turf in the backyard.

Scottish-born Darren Bruce built the home for his family three years ago and said they wanted to combine the best attributes of warm UK homes, while also admiring New Zealand’s character weather-board houses.

TOTEM Architects was enlisted to design the solid heritage-style weatherboard home with wooden detailing and a raft of mod cons including a hydronic in-slab heating system, Earthwool insulation, a 10.5Kw two-way solar system, an ultra-low emission wood burner, two heat pump and Argon-filled timber windows.

Bruce’s own building firm BD Construction then took a year to build the house on the sloping Cashmere section which, according to OneRoof property records, was purchased in June 2018 for $525,614.

The existing house was bowled to make way for the new home and large retaining walls were put up to create a large flat area for the astro-turf.

The house was completed at the end of 2020.

“We’ve got a boy who is addicted to football so the astro-turf pitch just seemed like the best thing to do to keep them busy,” Bruce said.

And while he admits they may have underestimated the cost of building an artificial pitch, the end result has provided hours of entertainment for his kids.

“Obviously we were a little bit naïve about how much it would actually cost to do it, but they love it because it’s just used so much. We’ve got kids here all the time because it’s here.

“It doesn’t get bogged down, doesn’t get muddy so the kids are on it all the time.”

The high nets also mean the ball stays on the right side of the property, he said.

Bruce said the property is perfect for entertaining and would suit a family with two or three children.

“They would love having awesome views, but also conscious that the electricity bills are pretty low because of the way it is built and the solar and that.”

Bruce said, even though they had “spent everything on the house”, he now has his sights on a renovation project with a bigger section so they could have not only an astro-turf but also a workshop and enough a car parking for his caravan and boat.

“If we can get the same and still be able to bring the caravan back that would be perfect.”

Harcourts Grenadier listing agent Fernanda Hammett, who is set to auction the home next month, said the football pitch is proving a big hit at the open homes.

A family with three boys attended an open home at the weekend when it was pouring down with rain and she said they raced straight down to play on it.

“They didn’t even care it was raining, they just kept playing because you don’t get dirty do you, it’s artificial grass.

“It’s amazing that you get to have this kind of backyard in your own home plus you have a view – you have everything there.”

Parents can sit under the veranda and unwind while watching the kids play on the turf, she said, or relax in the spa in the undercover pergola at the back of the section.

Despite being on a hill and having views over Christchurch city, the section itself is flat and the house is both warm with underfloor heating and solar panels.

“It’s an economical house and it is very good for the environment.”

It had also been beautifully crafted with impressive attention to detail, she said.

“Everything is new, but has a character feel.”

-By Nikki Preston