To all the architects and homeowners featured in this issue: how did you do it? We are into week eight of our renovation: the scaffolding is still up and there are holes in walls all over the house. The 1970s Pizza Hut parapet came off in a day and revealed, at long last, the original butterfly roofline of the house that I always knew was there. Then the weatherboards came off, too, because they were shot and, well, if you’re in for a penny, et cetera. By the time we’re done we will have left the pegboard ceiling (original 1950s feature!), the floor, a couple of Gib walls and three windows, which probably should have gone, too. Each day, I talk to the architect, talk to the builder, talk to the window fabricator, talk to the builder, and then go back to the architect. And then I go and talk to the bank. Hopefully, it’s worth it. But it has given me a whole new appreciation of the process it takes to make the wonderful houses we feature each issue. It has reminded me that architecture has to have an internal logic that makes intuitive sense or nothing hangs together. But that’s an idea: the execution can be shipwrecked so easily on the reefs of council consent or contractors who don’t understand what you’re trying to do. It has made me realise, also, how small projects are anything but easier: in fact they’re probably more intense because of the scale. There are fewer details to master, but they are that much more important. As with our cover house, a crisp little cabin by James Warren of Upoko Architects: a six-by-six-by-six cube that occupies a tiny clearing in the bush. The moves are few, but perfectly and delightfully revealed, and you can hear the distant roar of the sea. So enjoy this issue – eight small, brilliantly made houses around the country. And then think of me, fretting about flashings.
Top right Two clever solutions are reached on a split site in Wellington (p.128). A cabin by James Warren in a nikau grove on the Punakaiki coast (p.76). Above right Above left Mitchell Coll of Coll Architecture slots two homes onto a 300-square-metre site in Christchurch (p.108). Tobin Smith’s Christchurch home is loosely modelled on a 19thcentury cottage (p.86).