Reclaimed, relocated and reimagined

After years spent as a builder, Reon Boe thought he’d seen just about everything. Then the giant mahogany eagle turned up.

“That was definitely a surprise,” says Reon, director of Queenstown-based Elevate Construction. But the hand-carved Balinese bird’s arrival wasn’t the only memorable moment this one-of-a-kind project had in store.

When a good friend mentioned his plans to demolish his Bob’s Cove holiday home, a light bulb went off for local resident Mark. “We’d spent a lot of time in that house and loved the whole feel of it,” he says. “So I asked my friend if we could take it off his hands, and he said, ‘Sure!’”

The structure was lifted to a new site over the hill, where Mark – a newly ordained celebrant – planned to renovate it into a boutique wedding location and accommodation. “I’d been following Reon’s work on a campsite in Glenorchy and he did an outstanding job,” says Mark. “So I thought he might be the man for the build.”

Mark’s hunch was spot on, and the two hit it off almost immediately. “When the house made it onto the new site, we celebrated with some beers and a BBQ,” remembers Reon. “Then it became a tradition for every milestone. Windows in? Beers and a BBQ. Cladding up? Beers and a BBQ.”

According to Reon, Mark is his ideal kind of client: the kind who loves a good challenge. “I think that’s why we suited each other so well. If someone says, ‘You can’t do that,’ we both want to prove them wrong.”

That can-do attitude served the team well, as transforming the existing structure’s skeleton proved a challenge from day one. “The bones of the building were a bit of a mess,” says Reon. “A lot of builders wouldn’t have touched it, but we were up for it. We love taking on the kinds of jobs that other people put in the too-hard basket.”

The completed barn-style home sleeps 18 and boasts a master bedroom, custom-made timber bunks, and two private cabins. Add in the 1,000m2 front lawn, where the 15-foot hand-carved eagle finally landed, and the property can cater to groups of 50 or more. “The last wedding we hosted had over 70 people,” says Mark. “That was a really fun day.”

Timber has a starring role throughout the property, with a vertical cedar cladding exterior, and solid macrocarpa used for a custom bar, feature wall, and outdoor leaners. Ask Mark whether he’s happy with the finished product, and his answer couldn’t be clearer. “I’m 100% happy with everything about the property,” he says. “I love hosting people here. We take a range of bookings via Airbnb – from weddings to 21st celebrations.”

Location: Bob's Cove | Otago

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