Architect's home is a distillation of what's important

Guy Tarrant and Debra Millar in their kitchen; the wall behind them is curved brick.
JANE USSHER

Guy Tarrant and Debra Millar in their kitchen; the wall behind them is curved brick.

Architect Guy Tarrant designed his family's Pt Chevalier, Auckland home to have exactly the spaces they needed, and no more.

This is the fourth home Guy has designed and lived in with his wife Debra Millar, pictured, and teenage daughter Conor.

The home won an NZIA Auckland Architecture Award in 2017 and featured in the NZ House & Garden house tour.  

They have less stuff that than others, but that was a conscious decision.
JANE USSHER

They have less stuff that than others, but that was a conscious decision.

Designing this house: Was a process of distilling what was really important. We realised we had a lot of spaces in our previous homes that we didn't need. Two living areas were really important, but we didn't miss having guest bedrooms and bathrooms. Our laundry is in the garage and we didn't need a double garage – just room for one car and the bikes. 

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This house feels larger: Despite being at least 100sqm smaller than our previous home. It's all on one level, which helps it feel spacious, as do the high ceilings.

The materials I've used: Give the room warmth and texture. I love natural materials and cedar and brick are complementary, so the choice to have a sarked cedar ceiling was an obvious one, although a gibbed ceiling would have been cheaper. I think the richness of the materials helps carry the relative sparseness of the furnishings. 

We probably have: Quite a lot less stuff than other people. I think that comes from a desire not to be surrounded by things that you never really use or enjoy — Debra's quite good at throwing things away! Not filling our home with too many things also means the form of the house isn't overwhelmed by what is inside it. 

They decided on materials that were warm.
JANE USSHER

They decided on materials that were warm.

I feel quite strongly: That clients shouldn't have to buy a whole lot of new furniture when they build a new house. The fact that we have a few quality pieces means they tend to transfer from one space to another quite well. The chairs in our living area are designed by Alvar Aalto – one of my favourite architects. They were a wedding present so we've had them for quite a while. 

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Teenagers are not minimalists: So we made sure that Conor's bedroom and bathroom had plenty of storage, her own work space and a generous wardrobe. That at least contains the usual teenage clutter.  

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 - NZ House & Garden

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