AIDEN BERRY AND AMY TONEYCLIFFE are living the dream. As a young couple in their early thirties, they’re comfortably ensconced in a brand new, purpose-built home with the beach right on their doorstep. They are surrounded by a vibrant community of like-minded individuals who have all chosen to forego city living.
The couple who are planning to marry next March, designed and built their home two years ago at Pegasus Town, just 32 kilometres north of Christchurch. They bought the section while living in Addington, but decided not to rush into building before they had thoroughly researched and agreed upon what they wanted to build.
Aiden and Amy chose their 400 square metre section at Pegasus carefully. While they wanted ample indoor space, their preference for a low maintenance garden and outdoor deck meant they could purchase a smaller section. Neither wanted to spend their weekends trying to maintain a large garden.
For the couple, moving to Pegasus Town was a natural progression. Aiden, who is the Club Operations Manager at Pegasus Golf Club had been in the job for eight years and had developed some well-established friendships. Amy works in Christchurch as an Executive Assistant and had become familiar with the people, culture and amenities through Aiden.
The couple were both used to the hustle and bustle of city life before they built at Pegasus. They were living in a small townhouse in Addington and Amy, who is originally from Ashburton, had spent time living and working in Melbourne. Originally from Yorkshire, Aiden had been spending his days working at Pegasus and commuting back to the city in the evenings.
While they enjoyed living in Christchurch, the move to Pegasus has quite literally been life-changing.
At the same time, they’re reaping the benefits of a great social life, both at Pegasus and in Christchurch. Whether it’s playing a few rounds of golf and listening to a band at the club afterwards or heading into the city for a night out; Pegasus offers the couple the best of both worlds.
The home itself features three bedrooms with an en-suite bathroom off the master bedroom, an additional bathroom and separate toilet. The open-plan living, dining and kitchen area has been carefully designed with sliding doors that open up the corner of the room on to a deck. A large kitchen allows plenty of room for cooking and entertaining.
“We really enjoyed the design and building process,” says Aiden. “Amy did a lot of research online into similar shaped sections and some of the other residents were able to provide tips, having gone through the process themselves. We could do pretty much what we wanted with the section, which was a lot of fun.”
In considering the design, they spent time ensuring that the layout would best capture the sun in the right places at the right time of day. “We allowed plenty of time for preparation and didn’t rush into any big decisions. It was our chance to build exactly what we wanted. The build was a really exciting period; to see it all coming together, taking photos of the progress and preparing to move in.”
Because the home was much larger than their Addington townhouse, they also needed to purchase more furniture. Planning the décor and interior colour schemes helped the couple ensure they created a flow through the house. And while many new builds can be a stressful process, Amy and Aiden’s experience was the opposite.
“There were a few times when I needed to make some quick decisions, but that’s about as stressful as it got,” says Aiden. “When the plans were finalised, we didn’t make any changes at all. We had reached the point where we knew exactly what we wanted and we weren’t deviating from that.”
The lifestyle at Pegasus Town is one they would highly recommend. “There’s quite a few other young couples who have chosen the same route as us,” says Aiden, “and the social life is great. You end up meeting a great group of people and making some really solid friendships.”
For Amy, despite her friendships being less well-established than Aiden’s, she found the transition from Christchurch seamless. “Everyone is very welcoming and it’s amazing just how much is on offer, right on our doorstep.”
Aiden and Amy’s ideal weekend at Pegasus involves a walk around the lake, checking out some of the new builds for ideas and inspiration and a leisurely coffee at the local café. “We haven’t missed Christchurch at all and we love the outdoors. It’s a five-minute walk to the beach and we definitely make the most of that in the summer. The golf course, gym, tennis courts and walking tracks are fantastic—there’s nothing quite like it.”
They’re also finding the location handy for weekend excursions. “When we were living in Addington, we never really went too far away from home, but now we head off to Hanmer (about an hour away) and explore the nearby wineries,” says Amy. “Moving to Pegasus has opened us up to doing new things.”
With summer just around the corner, the couple is looking forward to completing their landscaped garden. “It’s definitely our turn to invite everyone around,” says Aiden, “as we’ve been very welcomed and entertained by the community. We’re really looking forward to being able to return the hospitality.”
Both the move to Pegasus Town and the build of their own home is something the couple would recommend to other young professionals looking at their lifestyle options. It’s a choice that has enabled them to retain their city connections, build new friendships and design a home that ticks all the boxes.