In this “un-trends” is­sue we cel­e­brate homes with clas­sic style, home­ware that won’t date and se­crets of time­less de­sign

Sea­soned builders say good­bye to the coun­try and craft a bold con­tem­po­rary home that makes the most of its riverside set­ting

NZ House & Garden - - CONTENTS - WORDS KIM NEWTH PHO­TO­GRAPHS JANE USSHER

It was the chance to live over­look­ing wa­ter that sold ex­pe­ri­enced home builders Mark and Melissa Prosser on a Merivale site that came with house plans and a ring­side seat over a trib­u­tary of the Avon river, the Wairarapa stream. That, and just over 2000sqm of space to play with in a pri­vate lo­ca­tion within spit­ting dis­tance of Ha­gley Park and cen­tral Christchurch.

“Hav­ing lived in the coun­try for many years, we do like our space,” Melissa says. “This is our third build in 22 years and both of the pre­vi­ous two were in Ohoka.”

The house that used to oc­cupy the Merivale land was de­mol­ished af­ter be­ing dam­aged be­yond re­pair in the Can­ter­bury earth­quakes. Its own­ers sold the land with plans for a new home. Mark and Melissa saw much to ad­mire in the sturdy ar­chi­tec­tural de­sign by Sheppard & Rout, although it was a big shift from the tra­di­tional coun­try home­steads they’d built be­fore.

So they made some sig­nif­i­cant changes to put their own twist on the con­tem­po­rary home. They added cedar sof­fits, re­placed an in­door pool with an out­door room, split a huge liv­ing area into a fam­ily din­ing area and a me­dia room, and swapped out a lounge space down­stairs for a guest bed­room and bath­room.

“We re­ally just changed it to suit our life­style as a fam­ily,” Mark says, adding that it’s a fan­tas­tic city base for their chil­dren Jes­sica, 22 and Alex, 20. “Jes­sica works on the other side of Ha­gley Park, within easy bik­ing dis­tance. Ev­ery­thing’s so close.” >

The cou­ple say it has felt like home from the mo­ment they moved in last June: “We had Jes­sica’s 21st birthday here be­fore we’d even put in the fur­ni­ture,” says Melissa. “It was a great way to spend that first week­end.”

Mark has been in the build­ing busi­ness for more than three decades and Melissa is a char­tered ac­coun­tant with a flair for project man­age­ment. To­gether they run Mark Prosser Builders, so this project al­lowed them to use the skills of their team to cre­ate a home that Melissa de­scribes as “so pri­vate and re­lax­ing for us as a fam­ily”.

Their city re­treat is ideal for out­door liv­ing, with a tennis court, swim­ming pool and decks over­look­ing the river. >

There are lovely views from the up­stairs bal­conies and plenty of space for the fam­ily and visi­tors, with five bed­rooms, four bath­rooms, a pow­der room and an of­fice.

When it came time to dec­o­rate, Mark and Melissa put their faith in Christchurch in­te­rior de­signer Ben Lewis of Tren­zseater, a process that took some courage.

“I’m a per­son who doesn’t like to let go and this re­ally took me out of my com­fort zone, but we knew Ben was one of the best in the busi­ness,” Melissa says.

“We had some de­bate over things like the fin­ish on the side­boards but agreed on most things. Your house needs to re­flect the way you live and I think Ben has re­ally cap­tured that for us.”

The in­te­rior is lay­ered with in­ter­est­ing tex­tures and ma­te­ri­als – an ex­pan­sive mar­ble wall fea­tures an in­no­va­tive new ma­te­rial called Ne­olith by CDK Stone that means the fin­ish can flow through the home to the ex­te­rior. In July, the in­te­rior was named as a fi­nal­ist in the SBID In­ter­na­tional De­sign Awards 2018.

“It is an in­te­rior de­signer’s dream to be able to put to­gether some­thing like this,” says Ben. >

Melissa loves the sheer func­tion­al­ity of the kitchen she helped cre­ate with Ben and joiner Richard Hill.

“We’re busy peo­ple with sporty, out­door kids. I also like to have things that will last for a long time.”

The cou­ple of­ten start their day with break­fast on the sunny riverside. “The best seat in the house is right here,” says Mark, “sit­ting on the deck drink­ing cof­fee in the morn­ing.”

THIS PAGE (from top) Dark cho­co­late, cof­fee and cream hues are blended in the guest bed­room, fin­ished with a Henri but­toned bed­head. An Eich­holtz table lamp by the bed.OP­PO­SITE (clock­wise from top left) The home’s mar­ble theme is con­tin­ued in the mas­ter bath­room. New Ravenna tiles have been used in Alex’s bath­room: “We love how they run along the floor and up the walls,” says Melissa. The mas­ter bed­room suite up­stairs, with a tai­lor-made vel­vet bed­head, Eich­holtz table lamps, Ralph Lau­ren cush­ions and a soft fur throw.

THIS PAGE Mark bought the pea­cock sculp­ture by artist Sarah Clarke at a whisky tast­ing night; Melissa says the fam­ily has come to love this sym­bol of pro­tec­tion and eter­nal life; the house is in­cluded in the St Mar­garet’s Col­lege House and Gar­den Tour on 28 Oc­to­ber.

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