A Cashmere couple reinvent their dream home

Last updated 05:00 28/07/2017

Bedrooms and living areas wrap around a fully enclosed, private, central courtyard.

Brian and Betty Hazeldine's Cashmere home is flooded with natural light from the full-length windows and doors.
A generous scullery and pantry provide plenty of room for kitchen items.
A brew of tea is never far away.
Much of the furniture came from the Hazeldines' previous home, retaining a warm, familiar feel.
Cedar panels around the exterior walls will grey with age.
Two parallel hallways run the length of the house.
The master bedroom is classic and homely.

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From the street, the single-level Cashmere house might not catch the eye of a passer-by, but once through the black glass door, its unique features start to be revealed.

Visitors arrive in a white, light-filled corridor lined with bold vertical louvres, leading to the living area.

The house is a reinterpretation of Betty and Brian Hazeldine's award-winning family home, built in 1974 to a design by architect Charles Thomas and lost to the February 2011 earthquake.

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She and Brian only recently moved into their new home and are still settling in. Creating a "sense of entry" in the new dwelling was a deliberate aim of designer Borrmeister Architects, to replicate the welcoming entrance of the Hazeldines' original house.

The corridor also beautifully displays the house's most striking feature: a fully enclosed private courtyard. It is the centre of the home, around which the garage, bedrooms and living areas are wrapped. It looks "absolutely stunning" when lit at night, Betty says.

"I'm still working out where everything is," Betty laughs, as she brews a cup of tea in the spacious kitchen with a stylish black splashback.

It is easy to see why she is struggling to locate her kitchenware; the kitchen's cupboard, scullery and pantry spaces are enviably enormous.

A cosy window seat in the corner of the dining area is the perfect spot in which to read in the sun, and a computer sits in a nearby nook.

The living area is an open, sunny space featuring a stunning multi-coloured curtain across the interior window. Oak was chosen for the tongue-and-groove floors because of its natural, warm texture, while the living area's joinery is custom-made from a matching natural oak veneer.

The Hazeldines decorated with earthy and neutral tones, which enhance the sense of light and space. Much of the furniture and many furnishings from their former home were retained, giving the space a warm, familiar feel.

The couple ran Pastel Shoe Dyers on New Regent St for many years, and will be familiar to many city residents. After the February 2011 quake shut down the city and their street, they ran the business from home before eventually selling up to retire.

Betty retains her close ties with the area through her role as New Regent Street ambassador, a job she cherishes.

She says she and Brian have been on a "journey" since their home was badly damaged by the quake.

"It's been a smooth journey, but we are thrilled to finally be at the end of it."

Their new home is the "ultimate", Betty says.

"We loved our old house, but this is warm and modern, and we get the sun all day. It's perfect for us. It's the perfect size for retired people."

The couple moved into the original home in 1990, wanting more space to allow Brian's mother to eventually move in. Although this wasn't to be, Betty and Brian went on to enjoy many happy years in the home raising their three children.

"It was a very peaceful home," Betty says. "It was quite heartbreaking to say goodbye to it. There was a sad pang watching it being demolished, because we had been very happy there."

However, Brian admits feeling excited when the house was pulled down, because "something was finally happening".

For a long time, their insurer, Southern Response, considered their damaged yet liveable home could be rebuilt. There was an assumption it could be lifted and repaired, Brian says.

Three years ago, this plan was abandoned, and Borrmeister Architects was engaged to design a new home. The aim was to make the new house similar to the first, but to improve on it, Betty says.

Wulf Borrmeister and Jasper Kelly, of Borrmeister Architects, were charged with bringing the project to life.

As it was the rebuild of a quake-damaged home, the first objective of the design was to make good use of the existing site, Jasper says.

Taking cues from the 1970s home, they worked to design an inviting yet private residence for the Hazeldines.

The result is a contemporary home, based on central-courtyard planning principles. Besides environmental and passive design, there were also usability and accessibility considerations for Betty and Brian, who plan to live in the house "forever".

A second corridor flanking the indoor courtyard leads from the living area to the three bedrooms, which all have their own balconies. High interior windows along the corridor allow even more natural light into the rooms.

Floor-to-ceiling windows in the living area and the high windows throughout the house ensure the house catches sun all day. The windows are also perfectly designed to frame views of the nearby Port Hills.

"We love being able to enjoy views of the hills and the sunrises from every room in the house," Betty says.

The floor-to-ceiling windows can be slid along to create indoor-outdoor flow from the courtyard to the rear garden patio. It's the perfect arrangement for summer entertaining and for when the Hazeldines' 11 grandchildren visit.

Well-established native trees planted by Betty and Brian near the creek at the rear garden's border were also preserved, providing a haven for birds.

"You hear the birds singing away in the morning and it's really quite nice," Brian says.

Ducks are also drawn to the creek, which the couple enjoy, along with the grandchildren.

The original house design made use of exposed concrete blocks, while the new home's exterior is a mix of concrete blocks and cedar wood. The contrasting materials complement one another, while also providing texture and warmth throughout the house.

An expressed joint cladding system was also used on the house exterior. The cladding was carefully aligned to wrap on to the soffits (undersides of the roof) to give a continuous effect, and the soffits were carefully coloured to match.

During construction, Betty and Brian rented the house next door, allowing them to watch Metzger Builders' daily progress on their home.

"It was very exciting watching it go up right next door," Betty says.

She and Brian finally received the keys to their new home in June 2017 – more than six years after their family home was damaged. The rebuild had taken one year to complete.

"I was close to tears at the handover, it was overwhelming," Betty says.

"We feel like we have been very well looked after. We feel very blessed, very lucky."

While delighted to finally be in their new home, the gardening enthusiasts are now looking forward to completing the landscaping, one of the final steps on their long journey.


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