Gerard Corona roofing: Love At First Sight

As Auckland couple Allen and Marilyn Welch approached retirement, their daughter and son-in-law suggested that they look at the possibility of designing and building a single house, enabling them to live together under one roof, and provide care in the future. Thanks to an enviable rural location, spacious design, and a Gerard pressed roof supporting a solar power system, they’re living that future vision in a sustainable way.

Rural Whitford setting…
One of 19 lots in the subdivision bounded by Whitford Park Road to the west, and Polo Lane to the north, the Welch’s 3.9 hectare site is arguably the pick of the bunch, and a reward for them being among the first to commit to the development.
Elevated and open – yet private, with enough distance from the main road to cancel out noise, the space gets all day sun and enjoys a stunning vista towards undulating green hills and a few recently acquired neighbours off in the distance. The sight of the occasional stray Canadian goose using the sealed access road as a thoroughfare between lush garden areas and the large duck pond at the foot of the Welch’s section only adds to the rural charm. 

Marilyn explains their journey to the country: “Twenty eight years ago I was appointed Vicar of Whitford and we always had a desire to live in this rural community. After other subsequent appointments we had a yearning to return to Whitford for our retirement. We heard this area opened up and I guess we sensed an opportunity. Our hearts became set on building here.”

Large, expansive design…
With two families to be living under one roof, the Welch’s desired a well-thought, functional space, so together with daughter Andrea and son-in-law Brice they approached the team at GJ Gardner Manukau: “We needed an expansive home that could handle both families and visitors, give us spaces for being together as well as space for each family member to retain a sense of separation and privacy. We love having our family around, though it can be intense at times especially when we’ve had as many as ten living in the house.”

The 518m2 home they’ve achieved as a result fits the bill perfectly, and includes 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. It’s orientation and lateral layout takes full advantage of the location, with an open plan kitchen and indoor/outdoor living area, master bedroom and a second lounge all taking in the north facing view. 

The central living area is flanked on both sides by more private guest areas. To the west, the master bedroom backs on to the kitchen and scullery, and is joined by the main bathroom, two smaller bedrooms, a games room and a “retreat” area. 

To the east, the dining room and lounge are joined by a second retreat space, two additional bedrooms and a second bathroom. The exterior style is traditional, clad mainly in brick but also featuring a weatherboard cavity at the rear entranceway, and a weatherboard façade at the front. 

Roof & solar aspect…
Despite the fact their location is in a wind zone classified as ‘very high’, Marilyn admits that their satin finish Gerard Corona roof was more of a case of love at first sight, versus a choice based on performance: “Part of the reason for me in choosing Gerard was that, when we went into our (GJ Gardner) builder’s office, they had a picture up on the wall and I said ‘Wow – I like that!’ and they said ‘well that’s Gerard’ – so I thought that’s the roof I want for my home. If anyone said to me that they were considering Gerard, I’d say ‘go for it’. We’ve been completely satisfied.” 

The 21 degree roof pitch shows roofs profile and distinctive Ocean Blue tone off nicely, while the complex networks of ridges and hips in the design is also visually striking. 

The Welch’s have anticipated the impact of large numbers of family on resources like water and power, and Allen explains the installation of a section of solar panels on the roof’s north face was a sensible option: “The first thing is obviously the design, but collectively we decided we needed a cheaper source of power to run the house. We put fourteen panels on the roof which run things like our freezer, our fridges, washing machines, and those types of high consumption appliances. There are times where we wish we’d installed a few more panels if anything, but most of the time when there’s a few of us here in the house it serves us well.” 

The decision to go solar is backed up by Marilyn:
“We’ve tried to do things so that we were environmentally friendly. We’re aware of sustainability and of natural resources, so knowing that we’re contributing in some way has been really good”. 

Leaving the city behind…
Connected yet separate is also how you could describe the relationship between the Welch’s and their new rural neighbours. With the nearest properties easily within sight, yet a couple of hundred metres away, Allen explains it’s the best of both worlds: “We can see what’s going on at the other houses, and we all look out for each other. We’ve got good relationships and get along, but I suppose the whole idea of living here is the space, really. If the neighbours have a party, we’ll probably hear it but only just, and we don’t need to worry about our noise or activities impacting them.” 

Despite being less than an hour from Auckland CBD, the city feels a long way away, and Marilyn’s been happy to trade alarm clocks for a more soothing start to her day: “I’m a bird lover, and being able to wake up to natural bird song is delightful. We’ve got a variety here - there’s tui, fantails, pukeko, kingfishers, pheasants, paradise ducks, Canadian geese and magpies. They all have their own really distinctive voices. It’s beautiful.” 

Two other houses on the subdivision have the same arrangement as the Welch family.


Designer / builder: 
GJ Gardner, Manukau 
Address: 49a Springs Road, East Tamaki, Auckland 
Telephone: 09 274 2082 
Roofing installer: 
Harvey Roofing Centre 
Telephone: 0800 244 766 
Roofing manufacturer: 
Gerard Roofs
Profile: Gerard Corona 
Colour: Ocean Blue (satin) 
Trim: Angle Trim 
Telephone: 0800 244 737 
Solar supplier: Harrison’s Energy Solutions 
Telephone: 0800 003 354