Essex Road - Dorrington Atcheson Architects | ArchiPro NZ

From the street, this transitional bungalow in Mt Eden looks quaint and charming. An entry porch with hexagonal detailing, shingled gables and a stucco finish bring interest to the architecture. Yet its planning was not so alluring. Located on a wedge-shaped site, which narrowed towards the rear, the interior spaces were a compromise of small rooms squeezed into the awkward footprint.

To create a more useable, liveable environment for a family with young children was the challenge. The three bedrooms which ran down the eastern side of the house were retained, along with the formal lounge street-side with its distinctive bay window. However the living areas were completely re-planned within the tight constraints of the original outline.

Instead of a maze of walls dividing off spaces, three separate elements are used to define function within the western flank of the home. A black ‘box’, housing the bathroom, WC and laundry, is an unexpected insertion, while an island bench with a polished-concrete top becomes a natural gathering point. The third element is a bank of floor-to-ceiling cabinetry that runs the length of the rear wall; it transcends the kitchen zone to become a container for the TV and fireplace and ends with a built-in daybed that captures sun from the north-facing back garden. While the rear of the home was pushed out two metres, a new decking area seamlessly links to this extension on the same floor plane to lend a feeling of even more spaciousness.

Sensitive to the era of the home, jarrah tongue-and-groove was chosen to meld with the existing flooring, but the contemporary black-and-white palette in the revamped living zones is intentionally modern and makes for a striking contrast.

Photographer
Emma-Jane Hetherington

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