Recyclables give an award-winning Lyttelton home a gritty edge
Five years before Pippin Wright-Stow and his partner, Erica, started building their compact Lyttelton home, Pippin was already collecting bits and pieces for upcycling.
The fruits of his labour are obvious, both inside and out. Steel pile casing offcuts have been worked into the landscape design to serve both as a retaining wall and as a funky textured structure for the family vegetable garden. Air-conditioning pipes, finished with garden hose offcuts, provide additional planters. An outdoor stairway, connecting the sheltered upper patio to the lower lawn beneath the home's cantilevered platform, was recycled from another project.
"I grew up on a farm, firstly on the banks of the Hurunui River and then Long Bay, beyond Akaroa," says Pippin, who owns Christchurch-based architectural design company F3 Design. "Dad had a workshop, so I grew up sitting on a bench watching him making things, often making do with whatever was to hand, so I think that's where it all started."
The "save and use it later" ethos extends into the home, where many items retrieved from the old Christchurch Women's Hospital have a new purpose. Various kitchen utensils are displayed on what was once part of an intravenous drip stand, while bathroom towels and toiletries are stored in stainless steel-cabinets formerly used to store baby blankets. Even the soap dishes are from the surgery and old hospital lockers now serve as domestic storage units.
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Corrugated cladding from an old garage that was on the section has been upcycled to provide a retro-industrial kitchen splashback, along with crafted wall cladding for the home's spacious bathroom. (It also appears as edging in the garden.)
"I love it, because it already has that patina of life. If you're prepared to spend more time on labour, you can save on materials and end up with a very nice, different look," Pippin says.
Just about everything on the property has a back story, right down to the artificial turf serving as a doormat that was left over from a recent playground project designed by Pippin.
Lyttelton Landing was a joint winner of the small homes award (up to 150sqm) at this year's annual Canterbury Westland Regional Architectural Design Awards and also picked up a joint win for the residential interiors award.
Constructed as a prototype to showcase F3 Design's approach to modular design, Lyttelton Landing sits high on a hill above Lyttelton Harbour. While the 66sqm footprint is tiny for a family home, the gorgeous views bring a sense of expansiveness, enhanced by clever design. Timber wall panels provide a warm counterweight to the industrial vibe of the steel frames and dark-stained concrete floor.
Its steel-frame box-section construction and high 2.8m stud means the interior space can be easily changed, as needed. This is something Pippin, Erica and their three children – Jordi, 11, Rafi, 9 and Ariana, 4 – have come to appreciate.
"Right now, we are sleeping in a loft with Ariana's bedroom underneath us. It is not something we could do if we had a 2.4m stud. The other day, the kids made themselves a reading den above the pantry. It's very versatile."
In summer, the home's living area spills out to the adjacent flat patio, ideal for entertaining. Up a flight of concrete stairs and built in beneath off-road parking is a separate space, accommodating Pippin's office, a toilet and a children's rumpus room. Translucent acrylic walls give this area a light and airy feel. Timber used for boxing concrete foundations has been reused as a rustic interior wall lining.
"This is the first family home we have built and it has been a really special opportunity for me to try out a whole lot of design ideas … We are really proud to have achieved something so unique."