Personal touch pays off for home building firm


The personal touch is at the heart of Hamilton building firm Nixon Homes’ approach, with clients dealing directly with managing director Cameron Holmes throughout the process.

He founded the firm two years ago with his brother Mike, and since then it has grown rapidly from building one house in its first year to 10 this year, while also taking out a prestigious silver in the Master Builders Awards.

They now employ three teams of three builders, with a fourth team to be added in July, as they build homes from Te Kauwhata to Kihikihi.

It’s all based on providing a complete, no-surprises service. Cameron readily admits that means they take longer in the design and quotation phase than other house builders. “We take probably another four to five weeks longer, but we quote the whole job so we go into detail with every client.

“For us it’s that personal touch. They get to spend time with me, going around choosing the kitchen, tapware, all the things that change the price.”

That attention to detail comes from 15 years’ experience. Cameron has worked on everything from residential to full commercial as both builder and site manager, after he started in the industry as a 15-year-old.

Mike, meanwhile, plays his part from a distance. He is an engineer in Holland where he works as a project manager. His role in Nixon Homes is mainly around finance, social media and marketing.

“Anything that can be done online, he does. And anything that has to be done here, I do. He’s good with money and he loves figures and spreadsheets, so that’s his sort of thing. It works well,” Cameron says.

“We’re trying to be smart about the business and seeing how we can run it efficiently.”

They also put quality front and centre as they build their reputation.

Nixon Homes covers the full range from smaller first homes to full architectural homes with a lot more detail, including one in Te Kauwhata based on their own showhome, which won silver in the 2020 Master Builders Awards.

Cameron Holmes with clients at the Nixon Homes Whatawhata build.

Cameron Holmes with clients at the Nixon Homes Whatawhata build.

They have plans they sell to, but encourage clients to come up with a custom design using their Hamilton-based architectural designer, a service they offer at no additional charge. “We encourage design and build because we want to make them feel part of the process and have a good experience.”

Similarly, they offer the complimentary services of an interior designer. She will help a client choose everything from paint colours to tiles and tapware, making sure it all blends in.

“They get that more personal experience again, and that feeling of being  involved with every step
of the process.”

The Flagstaff showhome that wowed the judges features corner-stacking sliding doors in the living area that disappear into the walls when they are opened out.

That was Mike’s idea, as befits an engineer, and Cameron willingly put the time in to make them work.

“People really like it; it allows a bit more indoor-outdoor flow, so that’s been one of the biggest selling points of this house,” he says.

That popularity has seen them install the same system in five more homes. Immediately beyond the sliding doors, the deck has a louvred cover that can be closed and opened depending on conditions to maximise sunlight, create shade or keep
the rain off.

What is also noticeable throughout is the abundance of storage space in the generous four bedroom, two bathroom home. Remarkably, the house has more glazing than external wallspace, maximising light and making each room feel bigger.

Cameron says Nixon Homes came about after he and Mike decided initially to build some spec houses.

“We were just going to do some spec homes ourselves and then Dad sort of pushed us into it a little bit as well. We thought we would be a small company, just me and Mike, and sell some quality homes.”

Mike Holmes

Mike Holmes

Cameron’s father was an early influence, teaching him to build, and the brothers would work for their father for the first week
of any holidays.

“We’ve always had to work for things. So we’ve always been motivated to do things, not just sit around and wait.

“We took a risk starting the business, but it’s paying off. We were passionate enough, it was always just a matter of time.

“We’re not worried about quantity, we’re more worried about quality. I’d rather build less houses and just keep the quality up. Because that’s the one thing that I want to make sure that Nixon Homes keeps up, is our brand and
our quality.”

Nixon Homes has teamed up with Harrisons to offer a 12 kilowatt solar unit, sufficient to provide more than half the daily power a house is likely to need. Anyone who signs up to build with Nixon Homes before July 31 will go in the draw to win the unit, worth more than $10,000.



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