Sentiments like ‘my home, my castle’ and ‘there’s no place like home’ talk to the fundamental role the family home plays in reflecting and indeed shaping our identity. Hence why a renovation or build project plan for a family home must be led first and foremost by the personalities, preferences and priorities of the people who will call that environment ‘home’.
While a simple enough mandate at face value, it requires great sensibility – something that new ADNZ member Adam Taylor of ata (formerly Adam Taylor Architecture) discovered while working on a recent project. His brief from clients Ben and Meagan was simple but specific: to take their iconic Beazley property, a hallmark of the sixties, and give the home a sense of openness with spaces to eat, play, work and bond.” The existing footprint of the house was good, but it wasn’t configured in a useful manner. Beazley houses are very common in the Mount, I’ve previously worked on four. While they were good homes back in the day, they’ve been bashed around quite a lot during their time and while some properties like this one have had minor renovations, they’ve usually been undertaken without much of a holistic view about how the home could work better.” Renovations on this particular property had done little to resolve its rabbit warren nature, dead spaces and awkward traffic zones. “Its layout needed attention and it needed maintenance to address the draughtiness and to freshen things up.”
Most importantly, the home needed to be compatible with the family as it is today and as it will be tomorrow. Inspired by the clients’ little girl, Molly, and any future siblings that may join her, Taylor says priorities included adding a bedroom and ensuite serving as a sanctuary space, separating out the laundry, combining the kitchen and dining/living areas to invite connectivity between these spaces, and to create fluidity between the house and its landscape.
“We didn’t have a huge budget so there were some limitations with what we could do. We wanted to create a home that was relaxed, robust, a touch quirky and not pretentious. We introduced an unusual amalgamation of textured claddings on the front facade, so from an external point of view, we could demarcate from what is happening internally. We wanted the house and site to be integrated so we recontoured the front area so it was more attached to the lawn.”
The outdoor experience offered by the intelligent design is further enriched by a ring frame pergola which also serves to define the outdoor area as its own, independent living space.
The modernisation of this weathered gem was not at the expense of its priceless character with Taylor able to let the property’s history still have a place in the final result. “We wanted to ensure some elements of the old house were able to shine through. With the strict budget we weren’t in a position anyway to allow laminate flooring throughout, so we made a conscious decision to introduce a heavy duty white wash onto the original floorboards. The outcome is that you can still see and feel the original floor underfoot – it has shadows and imperfections, which make it special.”
With five years of successful designs for builds and renovations delivered by his company and a recent accolade – the LinkT Young Read Woudberg Business Owner of the Year Award for the Bay of Plenty – Taylor says he looks forward to the future. “We deliver lots of exciting projects, and for us, our ongoing success is always about the architectural merit of the projects we are awarded.”