Homes built since 1992
Regions covered across NZ
There’s an inspiring story behind every home we build. And now, here’s the story behind us.
Our story begins
The foundations of Design Builders go back to the late 1980s when Andy and Brenda Bell went into business building homes in Hawke’s Bay.
In 1992, they decided that their trading name, the A & B Bell Partnership, didn’t quite have the right ring to it, despite having the word ‘Bell’ in it. So they changed it to ‘Design Builders’, because it described exactly what they did. They designed and built.
Building the company
As anyone who has ever started a business will tell you, it’s tough and risky. To get Design Builders off the ground, Andy and Brenda sold their own house and rented for three years.
But if things didn’t work out, they had a brilliant backup plan: live on the west coast, where Andy could go hunting and Brenda could read books. The company’s first open home was advertised with a small ad in the NZ Herald. The beautiful home was snapped up on the first day.
Finding a niche
By the end of the century, Design Builders had established a solid reputation for design and excellent craft. This set the direction for the company, which continues today.
In 1999, Design Builders won their very first national House of The Year Award. Unique homes built to the client’s unique brief became their speciality. As Andy says, “We always believed there would be serious mileage in the idea of high-quality original one-off homes, with creative flair.”
Getting bigger, but not too big
Design Builders’ focus will always be on quality, never quantity. However, as the company’s reputation spread, more and more Kiwis wanted what they were offering.
Business as unusual
By now Design Builders was firmly established as one of New Zealand’s most creative construction firms, with an award-winning approach and an emphasis on personal service.
2008, however, was a difficult year for many businesses, including the construction industry. But even through the turbulence of the 2008 Global Financial Crash, better known as the GFC, Design Builders continued creating superb homes for clients, cleaning up industry awards and taking on new partners.
Back to the future
After nearly a quarter of a century of hard graft, Andy Bell started thinking the unthinkable. Maybe it was time to step back for a bit of well-deserved R&R.
Design Builders needed to look to the future, possibly without Andy. However, by building on the business’s strengths, constantly refining processes and having the best talent available for clients, the future was still bright. With expert practitioners in locations across the North Island, it was now time to start thinking of a succession plan that would take Design Builders into this future.
Here’s to the next 30 years
With a new CEO and plans to take Design Builders’ unique offering to the South Island. the future promises plenty of excitement.
And while Andy Bell’s role with the company has changed, he’s still on hand to offer guidance. The buck now, however, stops with CEO Andrew Price, who’s in charge of the Design Builders network. Our awards tally sits at over 100, including several coveted Golds from Master Builders House of the Year Awards. But what’s most important to the team is the same as ever: a home built around you.
“The 30th anniversary of Design Builders is a time to look back and celebrate how far we’ve come. It’s also a time to look forward, to everything that lies ahead.”
CEO Design Builders
We’re proud to have won many accolades at New Zealand’s prestigious Registered Master Builders House of the Year awards. These include rare Gold awards and highly-coveted Best in Category prizes.
“Design Builders helped us every step of the way on our new home. We love the living area looking out to the lake.”
“It was our first-time building, what really impressed us was their design process. We knew where we wanted to live but didn’t know what we could get, or how to get it.”
“With Design Builders it all slotted into place nicely, it was colloborative which made it easy, and we knew what was happening. They listened.”
Take a look through our video gallery and enjoy inspiring behind-the-scenes stories, fascinating features on our latest projects, interesting interviews with clients, and much more.
Ferguson at Upper Hutt
For one couple, causing them to think, change their minds and think again, made the journey to creating their ideal home fun, exciting and inspiring. The results speak for themselves as their stunning home takes shape in a wonderful setting.
Dundon at Seatoun
Same site, incredible new home. Steve and Jenny wanted a new home built around them, but loved the area they were living in. They made the decision to ‘knock down and rebuild’. Watch the story of a couple who made the right move, by not moving.
Design Builders Wellington's Showhome
Experience a Natural Masterpiece. Mark Davidge from Design Builders Wellington tells you about the inspiration behind this amazing showhome, the architectural style, and many more interesting details.
A home built around you
Design Builders is all about a home built around you. Everybody is different so every home we create is a one-off. We asked our Design Builders team what a home built around you means to them. Take a look at this short video to hear the team’s thoughts.
Tips for building your home
We asked our Design Builders team if they had any advice for anyone wanting to build. Take a look at this short video to hear the team’s thoughts.
Design Builders Wellington's showhome opening evening
Design Builders Wellington’s first showhome was officially opened with a special celebratory event. Mark Davidge and his team hosted our delighted guests who were excited to experience a home that nature lovers will simply fall in love with. Perfectly positioned on a ridge above a beautiful native reserve, yet so close to the city.