Heart and soul

The de­sign­ers of this de­tai­lo­ri­ented Grey­town home put ab­so­lutely ev­ery­thing into it.

Homestyle New Zealand - - CONTENTS - WORDS Philippa Pren­tice PHO­TOG­RA­PHY El­iz­a­beth Goodall STYLING Shel­ley Saun­ders

The de­sign­ers of this de­tai­lo­ri­ented Grey­town home put ab­so­lutely ev­ery­thing into it.

Part­way through Susie and James Mackie’s ren­o­va­tion of their Grey­town home, they heard ru­mours peo­ple were won­der­ing what was tak­ing so long – and as own­ers of Mackit Ar­chi­tec­ture & Con­struc­tion, they couldn’t have that. “We had a ‘Mackit project in progress’ sign out the front,” says Susie, “so we got an­other one made that said, ‘It’s our own place – we don’t nor­mally take this long’. It got a great re­ac­tion; even now, peo­ple say they loved our sign. And they re­alised we weren’t use­less!”

In ac­tual fact, their project’s steady pace was quite de­lib­er­ate. Ar­chi­tec­tural de­signer and builder James has al­ways been an old soul. With an affin­ity for the ob­jects and ideals of eras past, he val­ues her­itage and crafts­man­ship, qual­ity over quan­tity, and fo­cused over fast and fu­ri­ous.

“We’ve got a bit of rep­u­ta­tion as a com­pany in terms of how much we ask of peo­ple,” he says of the care and at­ten­tion he, Susie and their team of ar­chi­tects and builders put into their work. “We’re ask­ing for that top 2% of at­ten­tion to de­tail, above the in­dus­try stan­dard – and even more so on our own project.”

The five-year ren­o­va­tion of their 1960s home drew on •

mod­ernist ar­chi­tec­tural prin­ci­ples, from an in­flu­en­tial pe­riod in which James says “the world was able to deal with things tak­ing a bit longer to be done to a higher level” and many ar­chi­tects paid at­ten­tion to every as­pect of a home, “from de­sign­ing join­ery and built-in fur­ni­ture, to choos­ing the fur­ni­ture and paint colours”.

“A lot of it is de­tail that peo­ple don’t recog­nise,” he says. “It al­most be­comes a sub­con­scious thing, where we feel a sense of calm and ease in a well-de­signed build­ing but don’t quite know why. The de­tails work to­gether to cre­ate a har­mo­nious en­vi­ron­ment and have a pro­found in­flu­ence on you.”

Susie and James’s fin­ished home is rich in such de­tails, all de­signed by them and built around the old bones. “We don’t want to be part of that throw­away so­ci­ety,” says James. “It’s pretty cool to keep an old thing alive. We swept through the house and cleaned it all up, while re­tain­ing the heart of the orig­i­nal cot­tage.”

Every as­pect of their prop­erty re­ceived some TLC, with sus­tain­able prin­ci­ples em­ployed through­out in low-key but ef­fec­tive ways. Each space is ori­ented for sun and shade, us­ing the oak tree at the front of the house and cedar slats at the back •

to fil­ter light, and pre­vent over­heat­ing in the sum­mer while al­low­ing the low win­ter sun to pour in. The el­e­vated ceil­ing at the rear lets in more light (and a view of the Tararua Ranges), and three open­ings in the liv­ing room wall help to cir­cu­late heat.

The ex­pertly re­solved de­tails con­tinue with win­dows in in­ter­est­ing shapes and con­fig­u­ra­tions, and in­te­rior trim made from rimu re­cy­cled from the de­mo­li­tion. Board-formed to pro­vide a tim­ber tex­ture, the cast-con­crete front wall mim­ics the weath­er­boards, and the fire­place hearth is cast con­crete too.

With plenty of tex­ture in the cedar, rimu, con­crete and cop­per he­roes of the ma­te­rial palette, the cou­ple kept the in­te­rior dé­cor rel­a­tively neu­tral. Re­sene Black White on the walls con­trasts with black, gold and sap­phire ac­cents through­out. The main source of colour in the liv­ing area, the book­case was de­signed to be like a piece of art, and the Ver­tigo pen­dant light by Pe­tite Fri­t­ure over­head has a sim­i­lar ef­fect, its cop­per rib­bons echo­ing the visual lan­guage of the slat wall be­low.

The fur­ni­ture and home­ware riff off pieces money can’t buy, like the mid-cen­tury side­board that be­longed to James’s late dad, •

plus the taxi­der­mied trout, duck and pheas­ant he caught; the blue arm­chairs in the liv­ing area that were Susie’s grand­par­ents’; and the chest from her mum’s board­ing-school days.

In­deed, the past is wo­ven into this home is many more ways than one. “Be­cause it’s on a main thor­ough­fare, peo­ple of­ten stop to look or take pho­tos,” says Susie. “One day, a lady was out­side with her cam­era, so James went out to say hello. It turned out she’d raised her fam­ily in our house and op­er­ated her hair sa­lon from the front room. Lots of peo­ple around town used to get their hair cut here and have their own sto­ries about the house. It’s so cool to have all that his­tory.”

Susie says the suc­cess of this project is down to an ex­tra­or­di­nary amount of de­sign time and close man­age­ment of trades. But the real key was pa­tience. “Although it was a hard slog, it’s made the re­sult bet­ter. It’s also made us so ap­pre­cia­tive of every lit­tle thing – like hav­ing door han­dles and a roof!

“Cre­at­ing this house has been a huge chunk of our life. We re­ally slaved away on it – every part is de­signed or made by us. Know­ing how much ef­fort went into it makes us even prouder.”

ABOVE Ex­tended to level off the ex­ist­ing home’s ‘L’ shape, the front of the house is clad in dark Ti­tan pan­els and cedar in a mix of blonde and warmer tones. OP­PO­SITE The fi­nal flour­ish on the project was the re­cent land­scap­ing of the backyard. “The deck is awe­some for bar­be­cues,” says Susie. “The float­ing kwila bench is flush with the kitchen bench in­side, so we can slide dishes in and out through the win­dow.”

ABOVE LEFT High­lights in the new kitchen in­clude the cus­tom cop­per splash­back and some pen­dants from Città. Cus­tom-made stools sit un­der the can­tilevered rimu bench, which Susie and James de­signed so they can gather around it like a ta­ble, “un­like an is­land or a break­fast bar, where you all face one way”. ABOVE RIGHT The rear of the house was ex­tended sev­eral me­tres and the ceil­ing raised. On the left wall in the liv­ing area is a vin­tage Don sofa the cou­ple found on Trade Me and had up­hol­stered to match their Elk chair from The De­sign Li­brary pic­tured on page 95. The sofa in front of the slid­ing doors is from mid-cen­tury man­u­fac­turer Parker.

ABOVE This large, long area gives the cou­ple the flex­i­bil­ity to move the fur­ni­ture around to suit the oc­ca­sion or sea­son. “In win­ter, hav­ing the chairs by the fire is great,” says Susie, “and we could eas­ily put the din­ing ta­ble un­der the pen­dant light, then use the din­ing room as a for­mal lounge or play­room.” The car­pet in this space is Le­vante by Cav­a­lier Brem­worth in Glazed Grey.

ABOVE LEFT In the main bath­room, the van­ity was cus­tom-made with a Ceasar­stone Clas­sico Pure White top, a re­cy­cled rimu shelf, tap­ware from Methven’s Tahi col­lec­tion and an Egg ves­sel basin by Plumbline. The floor tiles here are Grafitti Corda Matt from Tile Space and on the walls, Oxo Han­nover Blanco tiles from Tile Ware­house pro­vide a tex­tu­ral ef­fect. ABOVE RIGHT The five lit­tle win­dows in the mas­ter bed­room were in­spired by the knots on the oak tree out­side. “I love the way the light comes through them in the morn­ing and gen­tly wakes us up,” says Susie. “They pro­vide light but also pri­vacy; the bot­tom ones are frosted.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.