Kelburn Family Home

"...we're delighted with the results of our project." - Owner


"We found working with Wright and Gray Architects a pleasure and we're delighted with the results of our project. We could not imagine a better person than John to guide us through the whole process. From discussing our needs as a family, interpreting this into concept drawings, evaluating the quantity surveyors report, liaising with neighbours regarding resource consent, to project managing the work.

We found John to not only have creative ideas as an architect but to be professional, practical, sensible and an excellent communicator with both us and the other professionals involved in the project. We felt that John and his team listened to our needs and came up with ideas that both achieved our goals for the use of our home and added value while remaining aesthetically pleasing and in keeping with the existing structures. We found his guidance on cost vs benefit of our options his and attention to detail invaluable."
From the owners

Many alterations had been carried out over the 100 year life of this substantial 3-storied Kelburn house. These changes had been made piecemeal by previous owners and some of the integrity of the original house had been lost. This was not just a matter of function and style – in some areas, there were problems with structural integrity and the condition of the existing construction.

The new owners are a busy family with young children. We worked closely with them, listening carefully to understand their needs and priorities. Together we redesigned and rebuilt the core of the house – the living, dining and kitchen areas – over two stages and many months of work.

Driving the design was the desire for better connections. On the east side, there was no access from the living areas to the lawn – which is more than two levels lower. The kitchen also had little connection with the dining and living areas and did not allow a view of the harbour.

Making connections meant new large openings – which required a lot of structural steel. However, this investment also greatly improved the earthquake strength and structural integrity of the house.

The major new feature is a deck on the east side, with a stair connecting the living level to the lawn. An entire wall was removed, and large glazed sliding doors installed.  Because that side of the house is sheltered from the prevailing northerly and receives morning sun, this addition has had much use and enjoyment.

The original kitchen was probably designed to host grand dinner parties. We worked closely with kitchen specialist Milvia Hannah to re-design and refresh better to suit a young family with a more relaxed lifestyle. The wall between the kitchen and dining area was removed, and floor to ceiling sliding doors fitted to allow the space to be opened or closed. A large island bench was installed, both for casual eating and to allow friends and family to help with meal preparation.  The kitchen cabinetry and benches were still in good condition, but the tired and dated front panels were replaced.

This project is a good example of how careful interventions with modern materials can work well with an older house. For example, the frameless glass balustrade to the deck allows uninterrupted views. We used aluminium sliding doors for weathertightness and ease of maintenance – but the profile and colour were carefully chosen to complement the existing timber joinery.

When we make these choices with the architecture, we think the decoration and furnishings should take a contemporary direction too.  We want to acknowledge the contributions of interior designer Ali Brown with colours and furnishings, and the owners with an excellent selection of artwork and objects. The result is a modern, bright and lively home that the owners and we are delighted with.

Interior Designer – thedesignco (Ali Brown)
Structural Engineer – Meyers & Associates
Contractor – Scotty’s Construction (2002) Ltd
Kitchen – German Kitchens Ltd