Architect puts his own house on show

OPEN HOME: Architect John Mills is his cliff-side family home at Days Bay to the public.
OPEN HOME: Architect John Mills is his cliff-side family home at Days Bay to the public.

Multi award-winning architect John Mills is known for his stunning designs, tailored to the environment and the client's brief but next month his own home will come under scrutiny.

For the first time he and his wife Juliet are opening their cliff-side family home at Days Bay, for a charity tour. The House & Garden Tour in Wellington on March 14 raises money for two causes: The Cancer Society of New Zealand, which works to reduce the incidence and impact of cancer, and Look Good Feel Better, which delivers workshops to build the confidence and well-being of women as they undergo treatment.

Mr Mills told Hutt News that owners of houses he has designed have been asked to be a part of such events before and "it's a big ask for someone to have hundreds of strangers poking around". But the causes are thoroughly worthwhile and the Mills thought that by agreeing to it themselves, clients might follow their lead in later events.

Besides "it's a good excuse for us to tidy up the place and get a few things done".

The house was built to John's design 15 years ago "so it's worn in a bit now".

Perched on a steep slope, with a lot of glass and just the "seaweed garden" at the front, for those on the tour he expects it will be quite a contrast with the "lovely traditional homes with traditional gardens".

"It's contemporary and different."

Visitors will see bold use of colour.

"I remember well at architecture school an architect saying that colour has the ability to make space infinite. I have been trying - I'm still trying - to make that happen every now and then," John says.

Colour is "part of the materiality of the Days Bay house, and with such a strong, dynamic view with the harbour and the sky and everything else, our house in that respect is a response to the environment".

Another home in Eastbourne, and houses in Pauatahanui, Plimmerton and Wellington City also feature in the March 14 tour.

Similar events run in Auckland (March 7), Christchurch (March 21) and rural Auckland, around Clevedon and Alfriston.

Now in their sixth year, the House & Garden Tours have raised more than $1 million. Tickets cost $65, and last year sold out. Go to

Hutt News