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Please get in contact with us if you would like Casita Bonita! to design your unique small space.

CasitaBonita currently works in conjunction with Waka Group Architecture for small residential builds.



Lauren moved to Nelson from Melbourne in 2016, shortly after finishing her Bachelor of Architecture, and an Advanced Diploma in Building Design, at RMIT Melbourne. Before landing in New Zealand, she also undertook a Certificate in Permaculture, and spent several months at Yestermorrow Design/ Build School Vermont (US) completing a Tiny House Design/ Build, an American Timber Framing Build, and some extra study on residential renewable energy.

Since moving to Nelson, in addition to working with Waka Group Architecture, and Covey and Associates QLD Australia, she has also joined forces with Lincoln County School in Oregon, for a tiny house community build, and been part of several small projects here in Tasman, including her own tiny house build with her husband John.

Apart from small architecture, Lauren is passionate about gardening, her animals, pottery and yoga. She has also spent time living and working in Spain, The Netherlands, and Canada, and is slowly working through her list of architectural pilgrimages around the world.



John has recently returned to his home town of Nelson with his wife Lauren, in pursuit of life quieter than the pace of Melbourne. He has worked in all manner of construction on and off for over 10 years. More recently, he was involved in high end shop fit-outs in Melbourne, during which time he took time off to travel to Yestermorrow Design/ Build School (Vermont, USA), to undertake courses in traditional American timber framing (post & beam), woodworking unplugged (an entire course of carpentry with hand tools only) & study of solar power & install for residential & off grid.

John has always aspired to build his own family home, since seeing his parents build their own home as a young boy. For him this cemented the belief that anyone with the will power & energy can construct their own safe, warm and healthy home.

Since meeting Lauren, and being introduced to her love of Architecture, John has been slowly upskilling to have the ability to construct some of Lauren’s unique & beautiful designs. For the past 18 months he has been working tirelessly on two tiny houses, designed by Lauren, which will serve as their family home for the foreseeable future.

Since returning to New Zealand, John has completed other projects including a shop fit-out in Hamilton, a Macrocarpa carport in Mapua & the outdoor furniture for Kirby Lane, Nelson. As of April 2018, John has also been working full-time as a builder in the Nelson/Tasman region for Nelson Builders Ltd., busy with a wide range of projects including the Air New Zealand fit out for the new Nelson Airport Terminal, a high end residential build, and a full refurb of the Motueka KFC.

Besides carpentry, John is also a passionate photographer and musician. In his ‘past life’ in Melbourne, he was heavily involved in the music scene playing, booking and photographing, and also travelled extensively, sponsored by Burton, to make several snow-boarding movies. Hobbies he hopes add back into the mix again, as time and life permit.

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