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Looking back | The showhome game changer

Updated: Oct 24, 2023

In 2008 Johnny and Michelle returned from living in the UK. Married and living in Tauranga the couple were armed with valuable overseas experience. Faced with starting a building company during the GFC they worked seven days a week to keep Calley Homes afloat during one of the toughest financial periods New Zealand has seen.

Michelle and Johnny Calley

“The early days were tough,” says Johnny. “We had to think very creatively and behave proactively to keep our crew employed throughout the rocky patches

in the economy. Having a diverse approach allowed us to challenge our scope of projects, and one of these was the nationwide rebrand of Shell service stations to Z. I won this contract through sheer persistence that really paid off – it was a fantastic experience and the contract kept my crew in work.”


In another bold move, Johnny and Michelle invested in building a show home, then

moved into it with their newborn baby, Zac (now 8). “The residential market was

flat, but we saw an opportunity to make a statement,” says Johnny. “We totally blew our budget, but it was a major turning point for our business. The showhome was stunning – we’d finished everything to the absolute finest detail. It was a great advert for what we could do and what we value, and opened quite a few doors for us.”

showhome interior

“It was a busy time, as I was constantly cleaning the house and heading out with

the baby so people could look through,” says Michelle. “But we didn’t mind – the

show home was a game-changer.”

showhome interior layout

A few years, two more kids – Mason (6) and Mila (2) – and a number of iconic

builds later, Calley Homes has solidified its reputation as one of Tauranga’s premium

building companies, with an exceptional eye for detail and a cabinet overflowing

with awards. “The building process is an emotional and rewarding journey for our

clients and for us as builders, too,” says Michelle. “We love it when a client is over

the moon about their new home.”

tauranga builder showhome

“We thrive on building the unique, and finding solutions to our clients’ design

aspirations and making them a reality,” says Johnny. “Celebrating 10 years is a

milestone for us, but we have an insatiable appetite for driving forward.”

excerpt from UNO Magazine issue 41


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