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hen it comes to decorating a backyard, most homeowners go for the usual garden gnome or bird bath, but Amu opted for something a little different: a custom-built cultural design to house her Hindu shrine.

Amu, a seasoned Builderscrack homeowner, has checked off plenty of jobs on the platform. Yet, this time, she hesitated.

Tasked with a unique project, she doubted she would find anyone up to the challenge who could also leave her loving the results.

Enter Connor from CT Building and Services, a fresh face on Builderscrack, who *spoiler alert* absolutely nailed his debut, and left Amu wowed.

Before & After: a custom-built cultural design to house Amu’s Hindu shrine.

What’s the backstory of your backyard feature?

“It’s a Hindu God statue, which when we inherited had a broken limb,” Amu says.

“In Sri Lankan culture, you don’t typically keep broken statues of God.

“So, we were about to discard of it… until I thought how crazy it is to throw away something that can easily be fixed.

“I fixed it and ended up keeping it.”

What role does the space play in your day-to-day?

“We have recently moved here, and our backyard was an empty unused space,” Amu says.

“It had artificial turf around it — and a random rectangular patch where the old owners had a playhouse there for their kids.

“It’s a very modern looking house, and we wanted to fill it up with a statement feature piece that was nice to look at.”

Amu tried her luck and posted her design inspo on Builderscrack.

What was your vision for the project?

“The project was to build a little hut for the statue to be placed outdoors,” Amu says.

“We didn’t want anything too traditional.

“It was so unique that I didn’t believe I would be able to find anyone in Christchurch to build it. But I thought I’d try my luck.

I gathered pictures of what I liked from Pinterest and posted them on Builderscrack.

What was your design inspo?

“I had three designs from Pinterest that I sent to Connor,” Amu says.

“For us, the main limitation was cost, so we opted for a minimal yet slightly traditional design, as more traditional would have been more expensive.

Our house is also very minimal with sloping roofs, so it would have only looked out of place.

“However, because it was outdoors the material needed to be high quality, so it ended up costing a bit more anyway.”

To further the design concept she shared a rough draw up (right).

How did you hear about Builderscrack?

“I’ve been using it for many years, ever since my mum and I were living together a few years back,” Amu says.

“We used it to install an electric doorbell, and then to do some digging in the backyard.

“Since then, I’ve used it for so many more projects — both small and large.

“I even found the concrete layer that the shrine sits on from Builderscrack.”

What happened when you posted on Builderscrack?

“I had no one respond for the first few weeks because it was a very very specific project,” Amu says.

“When Connor from CT Building and Services applied for the job we were surprised — we wondered if he had the specific skills we wanted.

“We talked with him about measurements of the openings for the statue to be seen, and he sent me the drawings before getting started.

“I wasn’t sure if I wanted it stained or colored, so I left it up to him.

“He managed everything from getting materials, to delivering the piece to our home.”

Amu hired a concrete layer from Builderscrack to set the foundation for the feature.

Were there any challenges?

“I didn’t tell Connor how tall I wanted the feature piece to be, and how much the statue weighed,” Amu recalls.

“After he came to deliver it, he realised the statue was quite heavy and that it would cave at the bottom.

“He went back to the drawing board, got some more timber, and reinforced the bottom on site — all without any additional costs.

“And then I thought ‘it’s too high, let’s re-do it’. So, I got ready to sell it and have Connor make me another one at a lower height.

But when I posted it on Facebook marketplace, so many people asked me how I did it, and if they could get something custom-made too.

“Because so many people showed interest, I took it off marketplace and decided to keep it.

“Now after seeing it with the solar lights, I think the height is perfect. In hindsight, he definitely hit the brief.”

After: The design concept Amu chose with Connor from CT Building and Services.

How do you feel now that the work is done?

“He did an amazing job… I’m really really satisfied,” Amu says.

“I can see it from every corner of the house when I’m relaxing. It looks into the front living room of the house and with the solar lights you can still see it at night.

“It’s also a great talking point for when we have visitors. A lot of our friends and family struggle to believe I got it built here.

“I have friends that have asked, ‘did you ship that from India?’. They don’t expect something like this to be locally made.”

Any advice you would give to homeowners?

“I was so genuinely surprised that Connor applied for the job and that he got it done,” Amu says.

“There are a lot of people who think that when a project is so niche, it means you cant post it on Builderscrack. But Im proof you can.

“Not only was Connor so humble… his workmanship was clean with the curves, the structure, and the symmetry of it all.

“I’d be so happy for him to get the recognition he deserves. He did such a good job, especially for someone just starting out on Builderscrack.”

After: The feature adds a touch of tradition to Amus backyard.

Tradie Q&A: What’s your background?

“I’m originally from Cromwell, but I moved to Rolleston to explore new opportunities,” Connor from CT Building and Services says.

“As a qualified builder by trade, I do a bit of everything, from handyman services to building homes.

“I do a bit of woodwork on the side as well.”

How did you approach the project?

“I think the job had been on Builderscrack for over a week. It’s not the sort of project you see often, so I messaged to see if they were still interested and went from there,” Connor says.

“I didn’t really know exactly what they were after to start with. But they had a couple of photos which we took a design concept from.

“I kept in touch with her as I went and shared a couple of photos along the way to make sure we were on track.”

  • Material: Clear pine timber (defect-free) for most of the structure, and ply for the back of it.

  • Duration: Three to four days.

  • Cost: $1,000.

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What is a crucial part of the planning stage?

“Your design choice. I often meet with clients who are not too sure exactly what they want before they reach out. It’s always good to have a clear vision to avoid time wasted,” Connor says.

“I’d suggest a few designs lined up with two or three photos that you like. From there, it can be good to talk the official design through with the tradie.

“For Amu, there were two or three photos that she provided. I told her what one would be the cheapest option, and what would be more expensive.

“They weren’t looking to spend too much so we went with the most affordable one.

“Nonetheless, the project definitely stood out to me, and it turned out really cool.

After: The view from Amus living room at night is priceless.

Thank You

A big thank you to Amu for sharing this unique project story, both rich in culture and creativity. And thank you to Connor from CT Building and Services who provided the awesome craft and workmanship to bring this vision to life.

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