70s ar­chi­tec­ture gem wows with lay­out and style


There was a time in the ‘‘naugh­ties’’ when it was quite the thing to paint over rimu sark­ing to lighten up the ceil­ing.

It’s just as well the own­ers of this house weren’t tempted, be­cause the home can now be ap­pre­ci­ated as a near-pris­tine ex­am­ple of the Mid-cen­tury genre.

The Ti­ti­rangi, Auck­land house, built in 1971, be­longs to Grace and Jon Chap­man-Smith, who be­lieved they found their ‘‘holy grail’’ when a friend told them about the house six years ago.

And it was the fact that the house hadn’t been messed with that re­ally ap­pealed to them.

‘‘When we stum­bled on this house, we thought, this is un­be­liev­able. We never thought we’d get a house like this,’’ Jon Chap­man-Smith said.

In terms of ma­te­ri­als and lay­out and ar­chi­tec­ture, it could eas­ily be mis­taken for a Group Ar­chi­tects’ house, he said.

‘‘My grand­mother was best friends with Bill Wil­son and many of the ‘group’ from that pe­riod, and she had her houses de­signed by them.’’

The cou­ple have since found out that the orig­i­nal builder also worked on many of the Group Ar­chi­tects’ houses.

The lay­out was not en­tirely orig­i­nal, how­ever.

One of the first things the cou­ple did was to cut a hole be­tween the kitchen and the din­ing room. They also put in a new kitchen.

‘‘Most peo­ple come in and think that’s the orig­i­nal kitchen. Grace did a fan­tas­tic job at mak­ing it in keep­ing with the rest of the house,’’ Chap­man-Smith said.

Other changes and im­prove­ments were all in line with the Mid-cen­tury char­ac­ter, in­clud­ing the ad­di­tion of a cop­per Tom Dixon light pen­dant and the

‘‘When we stum­bled on this house, we thought, this is un­be­liev­able. We never thought we'd get a house like this’’

Mar­tinique Banana Leaf wall­pa­per in the sunken snug.

Chap­man-Smith said the pa­per was orig­i­nally bought to go in the toi­let but they de­cided the pat­tern was too big for such a small space, so opted to put it in the snug with new tim­ber pan­elling on ei­ther side ‘‘to cosy it up’’.

The cou­ple, who now have two daugh­ters, have de­cided it is now time to move on and the

The house will be auc­tioned by the Ray White Damerell Group in Pon­sonby on June 28.


Orig­i­nal rimu sark­ing and Ja­panese-style shoji doors fea­ture in this Mid-cen­tury gem for sale in Ti­ti­rangi.

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