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Sold on property - it's in the blood for these men

"It's uncovering what's there. For the most part they have lots of integrity, the old houses."

Customer satisfaction has always been a major focus for Rose, who has a small team of workers.

"I'm hard on staff to make sure we have customer satisfaction. We always have a team talk about customer satisfaction at the start of each job."

As retirement looms, with his knowledge on the costs and structural implications of renovation work, there's a chance he might move into doing building consultations to help people plan renovations.

More and more, people are looking to renovate and preserve the period charm of old homes.

"In the end it's just a huge job in recycling," Rose smiles.

"I love cottages. I'd renovate every cottage in town if I could get my hands on them."

An eye for design

For as long as Marlborough man Jarrod Midgley can remember he wanted to be an architect.

"I don't remember this, but I apparently decided that's what I was going to do at age five," he says.

"I was doing floor plans and models from primary school age."

That fascination with and passion for architecture has never left Midgley, now a New Zealand Institute of Architects registered architect with his own architecture practice near Renwick.

"I just can't imagine doing anything else," he says. "It's about creating wonderful things in the landscape at a macro level, and spaces for people to inhabit."

Originally from South Canterbury, Midgley completed a Bachelor of Architecture Degree at Victoria University, taking a break from it half way through when the Marlborough house belonging to friends of his burnt down in the late 1990s.

He moved to Marlborough for a year to design their rebuild, and "it got me started on the path of residential architecture.

"Most people only build one or two houses in their lifetime. It's a really emotionally involved journey."

After graduating university, Midgley worked as an architect in Timaru, and then Perth doing high end residential design, before starting his Marlborough practice six years ago.

"As architects everyone does things differently," he says. "Some are more like business people and some are more like potters, and everyone sits at a different space on that spectrum."

Midgley likes to showcase raw natural materials, such as timber, concrete and glass, in his designs, focusing on getting a lot of light, air and sunshine into the build.

"I don't like anything fake. Where we can we expose structure and expose raw materials."

For Midgley, the whole process starts with him drawing and sketching ideas - a creative aspect he loves - before he adjusts them on his 3D computer modelling programme, where he can look at factors such as topography of the site and the effect of sunshine.

"An architect's role is to get in there early on and question why we are doing things certain ways and is it the best for planning (requirements) and climate," Jarrod says. "And one of the architect's fundamental roles is to bring it in on cost and answer all the planning considerations."

It takes about one year to design a house and another year to build it, he says. The whole process goes through five stages, starting with the pre-design stage, which involves aspects such as gathering the briefing from the client, looking at who will be living in the house and how they live, the site conditions, where wind and sun come from, and what is achievable in the budget.

"For me, I take things quite personally and I need to have client satisfaction from the end result."

Midgley has designed houses around the country, from the challenges of a low budget $60,000 home which was an "extension of a tractor shed", to courtyard houses in exposed sites in the Awatere and Hawkes Bay.

One of his most satisfying projects was designing a home for his parents.

In the near future Midgley and another Marlborough architect, Chris Nott, are looking to joint venture on a number of projects under the name Rural Studio.

So what is good design?

"Good design is a happy client - someone you can rock up to in five years time unannounced and expect a gin from," he laughs.

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