A New Thread

Text — Si­mon Far­rell-Green Pho­tog­ra­phy — Paul McCredie

HOME Magazine NZ - - As Good As New -

In Welling­ton, Mary Daish picks up where an old villa left off and com­pletes the pic­ture.

It was a fa­mil­iar co­nun­drum: when the own­ers of this Mount Vic­to­ria villa walked down their hall, they en­coun­tered a cup­board, fol­lowed by a rab­bit war­ren of small ser­vice rooms.

When they got there, there was no con­nec­tion to a shel­tered lit­tle court­yard at the back of the house. “The re­la­tion­ship be­tween in­side and out­side was pretty bleak,” says Mary Daish. “Well, there re­ally was no re­la­tion­ship.” Af­ter liv­ing in the house for a decade, the own­ers called in Daish – known for her sen­si­tive in­ser­tions into old tim­ber houses around Welling­ton – to open the space up to a court­yard with a new kitchen and din­ing area, and cre­ate an area for one of the own­ers to write. The tricky bit: with the house up to its max­i­mum site cover­age, it all had to hap­pen within the same foot­print. Daish’s plan turned the se­ries of small rooms into one big open kitchen-din­ingstudy space where there was once a kitchen, bathroom and laun­dry, and con­nected it to the rest of the house with a full-height glass pivot door. She moved the bathroom and laun­dry into a small bed­room off the hall. Thanks to plenty of white-painted tim­ber win­dows, the area is open and glassy – but not slav­ishly so. “It would be re­ally easy to as­sume we should just open up the back wall and make it one open space where the walls dis­solve,” she says. “But in Welling­ton, that’s of­ten not the case – there’s a breeze, or it gets too chilly. You do want a bit of dis­tinc­tion be­tween in­side and out­side.” Daish has cre­ated zones within the open -plan space, each with its own qual­i­ties. The kitchen has a win­dow above the sink; the din­ing room fea­tures a large, low-sill win­dow with stor­age for books be­low; and the study – which can be hid­den away by tall slid­ing doors – has its own ac­cess out to the court­yard. “It’s not just one big floppy kitchen-din­ing space – you can break it down and each space has its own char­ac­ter.” Built in 1900, the house was ‘bun­ga­lowed’ in the 1920s and had un­der­gone var­i­ous in­ter­ven­tions since, most of them un­sym­pa­thetic. “I didn’t want it to feel like some sort of faux ren­o­va­tion – a villa would never have opened into a court­yard like this,” she says. At the same time, notes Daish, res­i­den­tial work is of­ten afraid of be­ing ‘pretty’. “It’s pro­por­tions and mea­sure­ments that I tend to be re­spect­ful of – you take clues from the ex­ist­ing and thread them through to the new.” The re­sult is a ren­o­va­tion where the past and present have found a happy medium.

—A new kitchen, din­ing and of­fice space are con­tained on the orig­i­nal foot­print and pro­vide a con­nec­tion to the court­yard. The ‘Dairy’ din­ing ta­ble is by KMS for Thonet and ‘1006 Navy’ chairs are by Emeco for Thonet. The kitchen join­ery, study desk and...

1. En­try 2. Bed­room 3. Kitchen 4. Court­yard 5. Pantry 6. Bathroom 7. Laun­dry 8. Stor­age 9. Study 10. Din­ing 11. Liv­ing 12. Porch

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