House Of The Week
Architect Nigel Dong took seven years to decide on how to update a Gray Young-designed home built nearly a century ago in a prime part of Wellington's inner-city suburb Kelburn, a house he'd bought for his own family.
"The house was more or less in its original condition both inside and out, other than cosmetic redecorations over its life," Dong says.
"Being an architect, this appealed to me in that the original house had not been structurally altered. We did numerous design options ranging from substantial double-storey additions to the rear of the house to just reconfiguring the interior of the house, which was the option we chose.
"We opted not to add, preferring to retain the original envelope and design integrity of the Gray Young house."
In updating, Dong wanted to make the house more fit for modern living.
"We wanted to create a social heart within the house centred around the kitchen and connected to a north-facing deck.
"Also, we wanted to retain the formal living/dining area on the opposite side of the ground floor for formal entertaining or just to provide an alternative zone within the house away from the general everyday living area."
Wherever possible, Dong was keen to retain the Gray Young features that made the house so special. Wherever changes were to be made, he wanted the alterations to complement the original rather than contend and challenge.
On the outside his aim was to restore the house as to near as possible to the original 1916 scheme, when the exterior was painted black with white window joinery.
Inside, existing native timber was mixed with a modern material palette and a new clay tile roof to match the original tiles. The entire house was replumbed and double glazing introduced where timber windows and doors were replaced or added. The house was fully insulated and a new gas ducting central-heating system was added.
Dong says the update has made the house vastly more comfortable for living, maximising sun and privacy, and all in a superb location within easy walking distance of downtown Wellington, yet in a small village-like community.
NEED TO KNOW
Renovation cost: More than $400,000
Size: 235 square metres, including triple garage.
Architect: Nigel Dong, Designgroup Stapleton Elliott
Builder: De Boer Building Services
Structural Engineer: Spencer Holmes
Materials: Social hub/kitchen/entry - Restored existing heart rimu floorboards; kitchen/restroom joinery - natural Zebrano timber veneer and white lacquered joinery, White Corian textured stainless steel bench tops and pendant lighting mixed with LED strip and LED downlights. Porcelain floor tiles in the bathroom and ensuite.
Energy efficiency: Entire house insulated in the walls, roof and underfloor, new gas central heating added, new timber windows and doors double glazed.
Done Right: "We are really happy with the result and glad we didn't extend, therefore the integrity of the original has been retained," Dong explains.
Done Wrong: "We spent more than anticipated."
Unexpected: "When you open up an old house there is always the unexpected."
Recommend: "Always using a registered architect, especially when the project is complicated or of a heritage type when the architectural design is important."
Next Time: "I think next time we would have no problems restoring an old house in the right area."
- © Fairfax NZ News