17 August 2016

Pure Craftsmanship

Authentic down to the finest detail, this picture-perfect family home commands one of the best sites on Auckland’s North Shore.


share

Born out of Britain at the end of the Industrial Revolution, the Arts and Crafts movement stood for traditional craftsmanship using simple forms and it attempted to re-establish the skills and techniques threatened by mass production and industrialisation.

It’s a style of architecture that didn’t make an appearance on these shores until after the Great War, and most examples were built in the more affluent suburbs of our three main cites – think Remuera and Epsom in Auckland.

This particular house, perched high up on a prime section of Narrow Neck clifftop, with near perfect views of Cheltenham Beach and Rangitoto, is a stunning example of a modern, Arts and Craft style home. Designed by Auckland architect Peter Townsend, just 16 years ago, it was rebuilt and added to using the same exacting standards that typified the qualities of its predecessors.

When Townsend first saw the house, it was in a pretty sorry state. “The original circa 1920’s house was reasonably substantial, but it had been converted into two flats – and not particularly sensitively,” he adds.

“It was a matter of unpicking the additions and modifications and taking it back to where it might have started life.”

The only original parts of the house are staircase and some of the south-facing external wall. The rest was meticulously re-designed and built in the original style, but with a few sympathetic additions and modern conveniences, like the impressive chef’s kitchen.

The architect says the house is what it is today thanks to the very generous budget given to him by his clients. “There’s a huge amount of money, love and effort gone into this home – and a lot of that must go down to the builder Neil Herrington, who is an absolute craftsman,” he says.

The third member of the design team was interior designer Maggie Bryston, who lovingly borrowed and reproduced some authentic details from the likes of the great Frank Lloyd-Wright and Charles Rennie Mackintosh, to create all the internal joinery and some of the many pieces of built-in furniture in the home – particularly in the formal lounge and upstairs study.

American oak was specified for all the custom-designed internal doors and joinery. “The quote for the doors alone was $45,000,” remembers the architect. “And that was a lot of money back then.”

And the attention to detail doesn’t stop when you step outside. If you can manage to divert your attention from the stunning views of the Hauraki Gulf, filtered though the line of mature Pohutukawas, you’ll notice you’re standing in a perfectly designed and professionally maintained garden, complete with a cantilevered Australian Jarrah that takes you just a little bit closer to that incredible view.

Speaking to the current owner, he says it has been an amazing house to live in. “It’s a great family house – almost every Friday night since we’ve been living here, one or all five of our granddaughters have stayed over. They love it here,” he adds.

He tells me that no expense was spared during its construction. “I used to work in the [building] industry, so everything in the house is the very best you could get,” he says. “I gave the architect free reign to rebuild the house in an Arts and Craft style. The only thing my wife and I wanted was plenty of space to display our art – hence the hall is much wider that you’d normally find.”

One of his favourite parts of the house is the hexagonal ‘turret’ dining room that commands sensational views over the beach below. “At night the raised lantern ceiling glows like a lighthouse,” he says.

This is an incredibly authentic and well-detailed home that really has to be seen in person to appreciate the craftsmanship that’s gone into making it. It has a strong and mature presence from the street that gives way to a welcoming, generous and well laid out interior.

And then there’s the view…

To view the full property listing click here

 

 

share

Return to blog

More recent posts

12 July 2018

For the Love Of…


Anglican church, St Matthew-in-the-City opens its doors to all people. The word is spread, unbiased and with love, and its arches regularly ring with sounds of orchestral music.

More
5 July 2018

Enough is Enough!


It’s time to say no to plastic. It’s time for each and every one of us to take count of the unnecessary and avoidable plastic we use on a daily basis and do something about it. Need some enc…

More
28 June 2018

Shortage Underpins Stability


As the Auckland property market steers a more subdued course, gone are the heady days of astronomical leaps in housing values. But, what of the future in the light of policies designed to su…

More
14 June 2018

Romancing the Craft


Rose & Heather’s Martin Bell says setting up their furniture showroom and bespoke workshop in a combined Grey Lynn space, the only one of its sort in central Auckland, is “kind of like comin…

More
7 June 2018

Weird Makerspace


Want to donate your broken down household junk - a computer hard drive or sewing machine which doesn’t work anymore - to a good cause? Consider Tangleball. A community of down to earth creat…

More
31 May 2018

A Matter of Choice


Rattle is no ordinary recording label – it doesn’t do ordinary, or standard, or commercial, or anything else that might suggest mainstream. What it does do, is uphold a persistent presence w…

More
24 May 2018

Environmental Sea Change


After enduring years of the old Council’s long term neglect, Aucklanders have reached a tipping point. The environment has suddenly become mainstream.

More
3 May 2018

Loveable Rogues


Being a good Kiwi, Mark Neal considers it his birthright to challenge the norm – and this attitude has spurred him and two cohorts to establish Ponsonby-based artisan gin makers, Rogue Socie…

More
19 April 2018

A Hub for Good Food


End the week and start the weekend by savouring the tastes at Streetfood Station Food Truck Friday and Saturday mornings farmers market at Mt Albert Market.

More

Contact Us

Are you interested in knowing more about one of these articles? Please fill out the form below to get in contact with us.