Construction Company

Lifestyle home and workshop

“We feel very comfortable in our home. It accommodates our every need: we have plenty of space and natural light in our living space, while the shed has given us the workshop space we were after.
We also love the natural feel of the cedar cladding.”

Ian and Sue McLellan, owners

Project Description

Current owners: Ian and Sue McLellan
Location: Cromwell
Dimensions: 16.8 x 8m living space with 10 x 18m 2-bay shed and approx. 48m² of covered verandah
Year Completed: 2015
Key materials: Steel skeleton with timber framing in the habitable area. Clad in cedar board with batten and ironsand corrugate.

The challenge

Ian and Sue wanted a home and workshop on their recently purchased lifestyle block. A mechanic by trade and owner of Central Concrete Pumps Ltd, Ian particularly wanted a structure big enough to work on his concrete pumps, as well as accommodate their motorhome, boat and two trucks. He was sick of working outside in the winter! Also, downsizing from a family of six to just the two of them now the children had left home, Ian and Sue also wanted a practical living space on the property.

Our approach

Construction NZ


We met with the McLellans to specify their requirements.

They had a good idea of what they wanted, having seen a home/workshop structure in Northland built with ply and batten – a shed converted into a home. But Ian didn’t want multiple poles in his building.

The structure also needed to be high enough to accommodate trucks, a bus and large boat. Yet, the structure was to look more like a home than a shed.

We recommended a customised habitable barn.


Designing a clearspan structure was simple with the Specialised Structures system. Similarly, we were able to create a structure high enough to accommodate Ian’s machinery.

It took a few sittings with the McLellans and our architects DDC to get it perfect, but good things take time!

The final design included a two-bedroom unit with open plan lounge/kitchen, bathroom/laundry combined, a large store room, large wardrobes in the bedrooms and a linen cupboard. The 2-bay barn was approximately 6m high.

We added clearlight to the length of the barn (both sides) and on the verandah areas to provide good natural light to both sections of the structure.

The cedar cladding and ironsand corrugate pulled the structure together nicely, creating a smart, natural looking building to complement the surrounding environment.


We managed this project from concept to completing the exterior and framing the interior – the McLellans did their own finishing inside.

The result

“We are more than happy with our new home” says Ian. “It’s pretty bloody robust and has more than exceeded our expectations during the cold Central Otago winter.

“The design met 98 per cent of our original brief. The other two per cent is the stuff we never thought of when we designed it!

“We would definitely work with Specialised Structures again in the future.”