By Dylan Rhynd of DPRD Studio Architecture, this beachy St Heliers build is the place to be

The family home is full of light, luxe and textural touches for maximum health and happiness. 

‘This must be the place’, says the neon-sign writing on the wall at Kelly and Mark Pattie’s house. Two-and-a-half years, detail by detail in the making, their home is as close to the ultimate destination as they could have imagined, a place into which they’ve poured their heart and soul.
Having renovated their two prior dwellings, they’d intended to do the same to the one that originally stood on this site in the seaside Auckland suburb of St Heliers. But when consultations with their architectural designer and long-time friend Dylan Rhynd of DPRD Studio Architecture revealed very little of it would remain once they’d ticked off their wish-list, they changed tack, trucked the old house off to Hastings and started dreaming even bigger. 

TOP A Circus 750 pendant light by Resident is dramatic in the entryway, with its mortarless Versa-lok wall from Bower Brothers (a cost-effective solution typically used in commercial buildings) also lit by an LED strip that washes up the concrete from bottom to top. The custom-designed staircase has a fabricated metal railing and kwila treads stained black for maximum practicality. ABOVE The Pattie family.

TOP The sign by Radikal Neon hangs in the runway above a Spencer bench seat from A&C Homestore.
Just beyond the concrete blocks on the left is a reeded-glass pane that directs sun from here into the scullery, where Kelly stores her baking equipment. She says it’s a gorgeous place to cook in. “That window makes it light and open, so you don’t feel like you’re in a cupboard.” MIDDLE In the living area, a Bondi lounge suite by Dawson & Co and an Avalon coffee table by St Clements come together with a Khofri rug from Freeedom. ABOVE The family’s American ash dining table was custom-made by WRW & Co and teamed with Maki chairs from St Clements. Overhead are Wicker Hanging Lamps by HK Living from Nest Direct.

The items on that initial list included maximising the sloping section, arranging the main living areas and bedrooms on one level, installing a pool, and letting in light, light and more light. These missions and more accomplished, the latter now pours in from one of Dylan’s key architectural statements: three huge skylights that run along the spine of the house, the largest 15m long. Still more is ushered in through floor-to-ceiling windows and doors and other inventive apertures, providing a pervasive sense of serenity that makes the hearts in this home feel, well, light. 

TOP Kitchen designer Robyn Labb brought the couple’s vision for the kitchen and scullery to fruition. The island benchtop is in oak and Alarti marble from Marmotec, while the back benchtop is Corian in Glacier White. The Mood Bianco splashback tiles are from Artedomus, the integrated appliances are by Fisher & Paykel and the cabinetry was constructed by Hewe. Hayes stools from Moi On George turn the island into a second dining table that the family gathers around daily. MIDDLE Next to a hanging chair from Dawson & Co, an electric window by Schugg opens the kitchen’s side wall. Dylan extended the pool into the corner here, so the ripples can reflect onto the roof. “It makes us feel really connected to the outdoors,” says Kelly. “I love looking out at the water, it’s just so peaceful.” ABOVE Also designed by Robyn, the laundry features many of the same elements as the kitchen, including Buddy tapware by Progetto from Plumbline (used throughout the house in Aged Iron and Brushed Brass finishes) and a sink by Oliveri. The Antilia tiles are from Artedomus.

“On cloudy days, you’ll be outside and it’ll be dull and overcast, but with the light coming in onto the white walls, you walk in here and it’ll almost be lighter,” says Mark. “It’s weird, especially in winter when you want to get changed into shorts and a T-shirt because it’s so light and warm!”
The practicality, thermal gain and health benefits of the windows were all important outcomes for the couple and their children Tyler (12), Chloe (9) and Harry (6), enhanced through additional features such as a warm roof by Auckland Integrity Waterproofing that keeps the home extra dry, the concrete-block wall that forms the entryway while trapping and radiating heat, underfloor heating and ducted air conditioning. These inclusions are among many full-time mother Kelly and software-product strategist Mark worked closely with Dylan and builders Integrity Building Services on to develop and fine-tune as the project progressed, stretching out their budget and timeframe but meaning they got every detail just right.

TOP The house is clad in Abodo Vulcan engineered timber in Teak — a thermally treated, renewable, low-maintenance alternative to the cedar the couple had their eye on. MIDDLE The view from the main bedroom into the front garden is through a vertical slatted screen, a visual design element that appears in multiple places on this property. Many of the home’s oversized windows are by Nulook. MIDDLE Doors on all sides open onto this courtyard, where the young bamboo will grow tall and screen out the neighbours. Over Cabo daybeds from Design Warehouse, a Horizon outdoor fireplace by Regency and a ProLine barbecue by Beefeater, a LouvreTec roof makes this space all-weather. ABOVE “Being at the back of the section, the pool [by Auckland Inground Pools, styled with squabs custom-made by the Canvas Company] was one of the first structures to be built,” says Mark. “We spent two-and-a-half years looking at it, waiting to be able to dive in on the day we moved in — in the middle of winter! Needless to say, it was the shortest but most satisfying swim I’ve ever had.”
“The build very much evolved, but luckily we had the flexibility to change things as it went on because we did four stages of consent,” says Kelly.
“We definitely took on more than we initially understood, and there were challenges along the way, but we stuck at it and are super proud of what we produced,” says Mark. “It was a real team effort.”

ABOVE On the landing, Ocean Swim by Kara Rosenlund combines with French oak engineered flooring in Putty from Artedomus to create a beachy effect. The impact of those big Adlux skylights is plain to see here. “They create such a lovely environment to live in,” says Kelly.

When you arrive here, pavers lead you from the street to a tall pivot front door that opens into an amazing atrium. On this entry level is the garage, guest bedroom and guest bathroom, but day-to-day you bypass these in favour of ascending the floating staircase to the slatted landing that lets light from overhead trickle through to the ground floor below. Head right to the family’s bedrooms and bathrooms, left to the playroom, or straight ahead along the ‘runway’ with that custom-made neon sign, past the internal courtyard and the scullery to the open-plan living spaces, garden and pool. 

TOP & MIDDLE Hero pieces in the couple’s bedroom include their Oasis print from A&C Homestore; Line wall lights by Douglas & Bec; Raffles headboard from Freedom; and Tonk stool, Lowlife armchair and Joe ottoman by St Clements. Like the ones in the living spaces, the chic, gauzy curtains are by Lahood. ABOVE Next to the bedroom, a walk-through wardrobe by The Wardrobe Company connects to an ensuite with a statement wall of pink marble tumbled-finish tiles from Artedomus, which Kelly was sold on at first sight. Super-Thin vessel basins by Progetto join with a Stanza Opaco vanity (topped with Biello marble from Artedomus, and the mirrors are from there too) — both from Plumbline.

A material palette rich in natural texture is the other hallmark of this contemporary home. Materials were left in their raw state wherever possible, for a result so compelling you want to reach out and touch at every turn.

TOP Laying the Alarti marble tiles from Artedomus (who also supplied the glass-finish Vixel mosaics and brushed black slate) in a herringbone pattern on the long, tall right-hand wall of the main bathroom was a job so complex that the couple’s tiler, Clayton Nicholls of Clayton’s Top Notch Tiling, jokingly dubbed it ‘Tears of a Tiler’. It was worth it, though, for an overall effect that makes showering in this space feel like you’re in a resort. MIDDLE & ABOVE A reeded, frosted-glass window lets in filtered light on the other side of the room without compromising privacy, while an LED strip beams light down the herringbone wall, highlighting the natural imperfections of the marble. The custom-made mirror cabinet and Stanza Casa drawer unit, and Minerva basin and Niagara Egg bath both by Progetto, are from Plumbline, and the Glo-Ball wall lights are by Flos from ECC.

Kelly had taken the décor reins on their earlier renos (and courses at the Nanette Cameron School of Interior Design), so she specified the interior details here too, placing her focus on minimalist, subtly beachy choices that will withstand the rigours of time — and kids. “After renting for two years, I couldn’t wait to have white walls,” she says of the Resene Alabaster paint  she paired with other neutrals, forgiving French oak and polished concrete flooring, and indoor plants to soften the strong architectural lines. Outside, the planting and paving by landscape architect Cam Strachan from SGLA has a Japanese slant (cherry blossom trees, a dwarf maple, bamboo…), something the couple sought to emulate after the calming, enduring aesthetic made a deep impression on a trip to Japan. 

TOP With both a beachy and a Japanese feel, Harry’s statement Bambora mural from Anewall covers all the bases. From left are Perspex shelves by Norsu Interiors, a Bright Sound light by Radikal Neon, a Junior bed by Plyhome dressed in linen by Castle with a cushion by Kawaiian Lion, a side table by Dawson & Co with a Carrie lamp by Norm Architects for Menu, and a Whale Tail print from A&C Homestore. MIDDLE Palm Jungle wallpaper by Cole & Son from Allium Interiors wows in Chloe’s room. ABOVE In Tyler’s room, the built-in desk and shelves are by WRW & Co and the Maggie Rattan Flex chair is from A&C Homestore.

IT guy Mark was also set on some tech that makes life here even easier — a system by Automation Associates that includes the lighting scheme by Lightplan, blinds, AV system, indoor fireplace, intercom, garage door, alarm and security cameras. Controlled with the touch of a button and remotely by phone, it contributes to an overarching theme of relaxation that suits these homebodies perfectly.
“The house is a reflection of how we want to live,” says Kelly. “It’s light, warm, healthy and just so easy. We pinch ourselves all the time.”
“We’ve been together since I was 20 and Kelly was 19,” says Mark. “We often say, ‘Could you ever have imagined we’d end up here?’”
But here they are, in what’s their happy place through and through. And it’s some place all right.  

Words Philippa Prentice
Photography Duncan Innes

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