Words Liz French, Images Brydie Thompson
Since its inception in 2007, Thorne Group (TG Homes) has been a proudly family owned and operated building business, with the second generation of Thornes continuing the legacy. Their clients can’t speak highly enough of them.
Exciting, enjoyable, stress free and fun are not words normally associated with having a new home built. Yet this is exactly how the Thorne Group clients who invited Nourish magazine into their homes described the process.
Hilary and Rob moved from Auckland to retire in Omokoroa, buying an elevated section with all day sun and glorious views of Tauranga Harbour and the Kaimai Ranges. It was a tricky site to build on, yet after meeting Thorne Group’s architectural design partner, Jon McAlpine, and sending him a site plan, he quickly came up with a sketch that became the blueprint for their home.
This build was the perfect example of the bespoke design process TG Homes offers. “It was measured to within a millimetre of its life,” Hilary says, laughing, drawing attention to recesses for special furniture, windows framing views and admitting breezes, stacking doors opening up an entire corner to covered outdoor living, storage galore … all in a flexible layout that works equally well when it’s just them or when grandchildren descend. They moved into their new home over a year ago and there is nothing they would change.
Keen golfers, Sue and Daryl, also from Auckland, had owned their beautiful site overlooking the Omokoroa Golf Course for a couple of years when they admired a home being built nearby by Thorne Group. Talking to locals reinforced their decision to approach them with the storyboard they had made up of features they wanted. Despite lockdown, theirs was a ten-month build and, nearly two years later, they are relishing the way they live as a couple and enjoy hosting their large family.
The judges of Master Builder House of the Year 2022 appreciated it too, awarding their home Gold in the category for new homes under $1million.
Both couples commended Thorne Group for their comprehensive quotes and total commitment to the outcome. Project Manager Scott Evered gets special mention for his regular site visits, attention to detail and failure to fluster. “If anything needed to be fixed or amended, the sub-contractors were on site immediately to attend to it,” Daryl pointed out, remarking that he saw this as evidence of the respect that TG Homes has earned from its tradies. Marketing Manager Lisa Buck (nee Thorne) echoes this. “The reason we have deliberately stayed local is that we know our region and have built excellent relationships with suppliers and contractors.”
Special mention also for the state of the art project management system by which Thorne Group ensures its clients have the full build schedule at their fingertips, are advised immediately of any changes, and get lots of photos so they can monitor process, particularly useful for out of town clients, but equally advantageous in omitting any areas of doubt.
A great tool does not replace the reassurance one gets from knowing the tight knit Thorne team has your best interests at heart. Clare Sokimi, who has the reassuring title of Client Care, acknowledges, “We become very much a part of people’s lives during the planning and building of their home, so mutual trust and open communication is vital.”
Throne Group’s depth of experience and thorough research of new products ensures you get the best advice and the most efficient and attractive materials for the job. Every home build includes interior design consultation, ensuring your home reflects your own personal taste and style.
Homes for Today’s Way of Life
In their 17 years of operation, Thorne Group have seen the evolution of home design with changes in lifestyle and generational needs. “The layout we might suggest to a family can be quite different to that for a couple whose children have left home,” Lisa explains. “We also aim to create flexible spaces that can function differently as needs evolve; for example, a teen domain which can later become a guest suite. Now that technology is so portable, a well-appointed nook can replace a separate office, and with kitchens, such social areas, a scullery becomes almost a necessity.” Lisa points out the way window seats can provide both storage and seating while taking up so little space, to the extent that they have almost become a Thorne Group staple!
Sustainability and consciousness of environmental impacts are also top of mind for Thorne Group, with the option for clients to utilise the Homestar rating system which measures the elements that keep a home warm, dry, well-ventilated and resource efficient.
Often building companies develop a signature look. In visiting two very different homes built to the client’s personal requirements, the only commonly shared outcomes were the warm liveability, the exceptional quality in every detail, and the praise for Thorne Group as “lovely people to build with”.
Showhome: 15 Montiicola Drive, Papamoa