House of the week: Kelburn, Wellington

BEFORE: The Kelburn home before it was transformed.
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BEFORE: The Kelburn home before it was transformed.
AFTER: Reminiscent of the era of when it was built, the home has been turned into a picturesque villa.
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AFTER: Reminiscent of the era of when it was built, the home has been turned into a picturesque villa.
COMPLETE RENOVATION: The house looks absolutely nothing like its former self.
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COMPLETE RENOVATION: The house looks absolutely nothing like its former self.
INSIDE: The home feels spacious, light-filled and welcoming.
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INSIDE: The home feels spacious, light-filled and welcoming.
INSIDE: Skylights bring the sun right into the living room.
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INSIDE: Skylights bring the sun right into the living room.
INSIDE: And the skylights work very well in the bedroom too.
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INSIDE: And the skylights work very well in the bedroom too.
BACK OUTSIDE: Off-street parking was achieved by excavating the basement to make a garage and driveway.
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BACK OUTSIDE: Off-street parking was achieved by excavating the basement to make a garage and driveway.

When architect David Melling first viewed this 1930s villa in Kelburn, Wellington, it was cold, dark and in need of repair. 

The property had been converted into a house and flat in the 1950s, the front verandah had been closed in and the period features had all been removed. So it was the job of Melling and his team to create a light-filled home that was fully modernised, but all in a sympathetic way to the era in which it was built.

"The owners wanted to create a family hub that was flexible, warm and comfortable. We also aimed to get as much light as possible into the home, to make the living spaces feel more generous and connected."

The flat was removed, and the house was reconfigured with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a separate multipurpose sun-room. The home was completely re-lined, insulated, double glazed and an appropriate period verandah was reinstated to connect the front of the house to the garden.

The grounds were landscaped to provide sunny, raised terraces at the front and rear of the house. Off-street parking was also required and this was achieved by excavating the basement to make a garage and driveway. A lift connects the garage to the living level, future-proofing the home and providing easy access for shopping and heavy items.

Melling is definitely proud of the final result, in particular the new verandah which is a sun trap and has views of the city and harbour. He is also keen on the macrocarpa timber inserts, which are a modern touch that complement the period detailing, as well as the large skylights that transform the property into a light and airy home for the owners.

Inside, a predominantly neutral palette was used for the walls and ceilings to match the native timber floor and doors, however colour is still present, provided in the furnishings, fabrics and art work. The bathrooms are clean and crisp with tiles to add a bit of luxury and texture.

"The existing kitchen was retained and the cabinets were re-painted. Built-in shelving houses a communications hub and amplifiers for a multi-room music system," says Melling.

"Cornices, skirtings and trims were reinstated to match the original home, and period doors were re-used where possible, or sourced to match."

Blending old and new together to create an interesting place to live, the owners are certainly happy with their new home which has fulfilled the potential they knew it had all along.  

"We were attracted to the location and the age of the property - the villa concept and style. We were also very keen on the street because it is in very close proximity to the Botanic Gardens and the city but has a lovely, quiet appeal about it.

"Now we love everything about the house, from the warmth (insulation and double glazing plus hot water radiator central heating), to the light (skylights and bigger windows), internal access garage, the layout /design and the easy access to the outdoor area."  

THE DETAILS

Year built: 1930s

Size: 177 square metres before & 220 square metres after

Architect: Melling Architects Ltd

Landscape Architects: Moorhead and Newdick Landscape Architects Ltd.

Interior Desigen: Wall Street Design

Builder: Heyhoe Builders Ltd

Landscape Builder: Paul Cameron Landscape

Materials used: Painted timber weatherboards, timber window joinery, corrugated colour steel macrocarpa inserts and native timber floors.

Done Right: Taking the time in the planning stages.

Unexpected: The usual foibles of renovating old timber houses - rotten timber and uneven walls and floors.

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