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  • The impress­ive chef’s kit­chen is cent­ral to the and its own­ers’ interests

Not every­one would buy a house with their friends, but for one bunch of 30-somethings it seems to be work­ing out so far.

Elissa Jordan and Glynn Rudolph had found many desir­able houses to be out of their price range, so they asked two of Rudolph’s best friends, James Cul­leton and Ben God­fery, to come in on the deal. Though Jordan, a Cana­dian nat­ive, and Rudolph had met while work­ing over­seas, he had known the oth­ers for nearly two dec­ades. And by join­ing forces, they were able to afford a beau­ti­ful, spa­cious mod­ern­ist house nest­ling under the Ngaio hills. Buy­ing indi­vidu­ally, Jordan says, “you have to com­prom­ise, you have to get some­thing mod­est. And none of us wanted to do that. We wanted to be com­fort­able right off the bat.”

The house, built in 1996 and pre­vi­ously owned by a Dutch couple, is indeed impress­ive, extend­ing through a series of gen­er­ously sized liv­ing areas, all out­lined in clean, sharp edges, and spread over two floors.

Hav­ing moved in only on Queen’s Birth­day week­end, the fab­ulous four are still stamp­ing their mark on the house. Its pre­vi­ous occu­pants had the place look­ing like “a show home”, with “dec­ad­ent” fur­niture, Jordan says. “It was gor­geous but it was the sort of place where you felt like you couldn’t touch any­thing. We have gone for a more com­fort­able feel.”

The house now fea­tures a num­ber of Jordan’s col­our­ful abstract paint­ings, made after she arrived in New Zea­l­and with Rudolph. And while all four have ideas about the decor, she tends to have the final word. “Ben had a lot of things from the 1970s,” Cul­leton says, laugh­ing, “but a bunch of those went up and they got removed real quick.”

Jordan works three jobs, as a pro­ject man­ager at Con­sumer NZ, a yoga teach­er, and the author of the Winey Little Bitch wine blog. Of the men – who “all come from a rel­at­ively nerdy back­ground”, as they put it – God­fery and Rudolph both work in IT, while Cul­leton is an air traffic controller.

The house’s well-organ­ised kit­chen – com­plete with built-in deep-fry­er – gives free range to the cook­ing tal­ents of Cul­leton and Rudolph, both of whom made the short­l­ist for the next Mas­ter­Chef New Zea­l­and series. Cul­leton is “heav­ily focused on very aro­mat­ic and spicy cuisine”, while Rudolph is a mas­ter at meat dishes and uses the deep-fry­er to make triple-cooked chips.

Upstairs, there’s a gam­ing lounge, as well as bed­rooms and work areas. But per­haps the most import­ant room in the house is a “tech­no­logy-free” lib­rary that sports bean­bags, books, a turntable – “only vinyl can be played”, Cul­leton says – and, cru­cially, a “Mad Men-esque” liquor cab­in­et. The idea is to have a place “to retire to in the even­ings,” he adds. “And there’s a lot of retiring.”

The house­mates keep things on an even keel with “pretty open dia­logue,” Cul­leton says, while the large amounts of space also help. The fin­ances aren’t hassle-free: plenty of banks wouldn’t come to the party, Jordan says. But with house prices rising all the time, and lend­ing rules tight­en­ing, it’s an arrange­ment that may become increas­ingly popular.

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