Steeple house a key garden tour spot

16:00, Feb 21 2013
Malcolm Taylor
ARCHITECT'S VISION: Malcolm Taylor enjoys using his unusual home to showcase fixtures, fittings and wall treatments which he can then recommend to his clients.

If you live in Glendowie you probably know Malcolm Taylor's house. He lives in the church on Kesteven Ave.

Step inside and it's hard to believe this modern, comfortable residence was once home to a Baptist congregation whose first service was held in 1964.

Where the stage and altar once stood there's a state-of-the-art kitchen with stainless steel island bench. What was once the lobby and administration area is now a media room. A large deck added to one side of the building gives the family an outdoor living space.

Malcolm Taylor
EVENING VIEW: The building stands out when illuminated at night. Mr Taylor designed the fence to echo the pattern of window joinery.

Mr Taylor is an architect and his office takes up the lower level of the building, in the old Sunday School room.

He's not the first architect to renovate the church. When the previous owners bought the building it was just a shell. Their architect divided the space up and created a second level in the church's roof space for the master bedroom, second bedroom and bathrooms.

The house next door was once the church hall and the two buildings were connected by an annex. That was removed after the Baptist church moved to a larger site in the 1980s. The first thing Mr Taylor did after buying the property 8 years ago was put a fence up for the sake of his daughter, who was 4 years old at the time.


"The [original] architect would have been mindful of creating a courtyard between the buildings. I imagine it would have been a lovely community space."

Mr Taylor says it was the joinery that attracted him to the house.

"People just don't build timber joinery to full height any more."

The cast glass window panes are designed to look like rain on the glass and obscure the view. While that would have been ideal for keeping the congregation focused, Mr Taylor says the effect was a little claustrophobic. He has replaced a few panels with clear glass to give glimpses of the garden.

At one stage the building was painted entirely in taupe, but Mr Taylor had it repainted in a bolder style to highlight the columns that are the building's key design feature.

"At the bottom they are concrete and further up they're hollow timber. They act as a heat stack which vents into the ceiling space."

By using plenty of louvres for ventilation and shutters to control the release of warm air from the ceiling, he has managed to mitigate the building's tendency to get a little too hot in summer and cold in winter.

The patterned blue carpet in the living area has a utilitarian feel and Mr Taylor confirms it was chosen by the church. He suspects they added the carpet to help warm the place up and to improve the acoustics. While it's not a modern design it works well with the bright, modern artwork and wall coverings the couple prefer.

This year is the first time the Taylors have opened their doors to the public for the NZ House & Garden tour.

Mr Taylor will be home on the day and looks forward to talking about the building's history and design with visitors.

The NZ House & Garden tour is on March 8. Tickets are $65, see or phone 0800 111 999 to book.

East And Bays Courier