Mason & Wales Architects x JK-W Interior Architecture & Design

Purple carpet. It’s not the average request, but that’s what the owners of this home wanted, so that’s what they got. They also acquired a blue front door, apricot walls, chequerboard flooring, jungle wallpaper, a glasshouse wing and, says homeowner Holly Turner, “when I said I wanted three disco balls in the kitchen, Janice said, ‘Don’t be silly, that’s a bit naff. You can have two, though!’”

MAIN IMAGE Marvel Terrazzo tiles from Tile Space were cut and laid by tilers Parkway Flooring to complement the panelling painstakingly restored by Phil’s Painters. TOP The front door is painted in blue Resene Aviator. Holly and Sam bought the swing seat back to New Zealand from Hong Kong, while JK-W sourced the outdoor lighting from Spain. Janice says that as part of an environmental strategy that saw them “use local makers whenever we could, consolidate everything we were able to in Auckland and send it down in just one truck, and reuse timber throughout the house, we incorporated found lighting where possible, which also works to recreate the glamour of yesteryear.”

Holly says nothing was too hard or too wacky for director of JK-W Interior Architecture & Design Janice Kumar-Ward during the renovation of the heritage home Holly shares with her family in Ōtepoti/Dunedin’s Māori Hill. If disco balls make dishwashing fun and lilac carpet in the lounge was non-negotiable, it was a case of so be it.

ABOVE With walls in Dulux Maiko, this space has hints of Art Deco to it. The vintage French bistro lights are from Vitrine, the painting of Lake Wānaka was found at Dunedin second-hand store Arkwright’s, and the table and chairs were brought home from Hong Kong.

Although a steadfast focus was placed on the sensitive restoration of the house, Janice says the updated interior aesthetic was informed by its owners’ personalities. “I wanted it to encapsulate Holly’s vibrancy and bravery, [husband] Sam’s practical and tasteful narrative and their incredible collection of art, and to create memorable moments that anyone who enters will take with them when they leave,” says Janice. “Holly’s colour-mad and has incredible taste in fashion, so my approach was to go as wild as we could. Of course, the house had its own vibe and was full of treasures.”

ABOVE The living room — or ‘purple-carpet room’, thanks to the pièce de résistance custom-dyed by Ōtautahi/Christchurch’s Cronz — is now the fancy adults’ room. JK-W custom-made many of the pieces in this home through Janice and her husband Julian’s furniture design company Mr & Mrs Ward/MMW Home, in collaboration with Alexandra’s Wedgerwood Joinery. The works seen on the walls here are a photo from Peter Steinhauer’s Asian Markets series (above left), Ewe by Stephen Allwood (above right) and a painting from Nigel Brown’s Table series (top).

Built in 1921, the six-bedroom Arts & Crafts-esque dwelling is one of the more significant private residences designed by late architect and former president of the New Zealand Institute of Architects Harry Mandeno. Brick with a Moeraki gravel pebbledash finish, it had already been updated twice: split into three flats in 1973 and adjusted again in the mid-’90s. The resulting interior had an odd flow and was cold, damp and rundown, so alongside Janice, architects Mason & Wales were engaged, with Hamish Muir and Matthew Barbour leading the project that sought to modernise the home in a way that respected and enhanced the original design while retaining its historical highlights.

TOP & MIDDLE In what was the kitchen and is now a hang-out zone in the vestibule to the glasshouse addition, Holly’s own blue animal hide and Toobe lamp by Kartell meet a pair of tub chairs she reupholstered herself, a yellow beanbag (not pictured) and a Tulip coffee table by Eero Saarinen for Knoll that matches the dining table. The painting pictured in the top image is by Neil Frazer. ABOVE “The previous kitchen was dark and too small for us to congregate in, so I didn’t enjoy cooking in it,” says Holly. “The extension designed by JK-W and Mason & Wales brings in so much light; this is where the family now gravitates. When friends visit, we sit around the giant island bench and trace the patterns in the stone with our fingers while we drink tea or wine. The kids sit at it playing with Lego, doing homework or drawing while I make dinner, bopping along to music.“

Holly and Sam and their kids Arthur (now 12), Duke (10) and Indiana (8) were living in Hong Kong when they invited their friends Janice and Hamish to help make their new house habitable by the time they moved home to Aotearoa from Asia — in just five months. Challenge accepted, Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland-based Janice flew down as soon as the property deal was done and viewed the house with JJ Oskam Builders project foreman Grant Rees.
“At this stage, it was two flats that were colder than the snow we were standing in outside,” she says. “The brief was clear: ‘How are we going to live in this house, Janice? It cannot be beige and it has to be memorable.’”

TOP & ABOVE As a nod to the original home and to tie in with the ceilings, the extension’s soffit is white painted timber, with rafter-tail details and grooved sarking boards. The roofing is by Roofingsmiths from Impact Plumbing, and the windows and roof light were sourced from E13 Performance Windows.  “We designed and sampled the kitchen in our Auckland studio, sourced the Jurassico Light Honed stone from Italy through Universal Granite and had it shipped to Cromwell to be manufactured by About Granite & Marble, then used Steadfast Joinery to custom-stain and lacquer the HPL Italia Dubai Sand laminate cabinetry panels by Plymasters with exposed-ply edges,” says Janice.

Her first move was to work with the builders and Jake Lanauze of Southern Electrical to make the home safe and warm, through new and repaired roofing, guttering, flooring, plumbing, wiring, insulation, door hardware and more. With that underway, she set about ordering decorative items like lighting and tiles, wallpaper and bathroomware, so the family-of-five-plus-puppy could make themselves at home before the construction of the glasshouse extension by Mason & Wales began.

ABOVE Janice says Holly had already done a lot of the accessorising herself, using items collected on her travels and through her love of art. The kids have had a hand in it too. “There is literally Lego in every room,” says Holly. “Here [in the conservatory] is the Statue of Liberty, and in the dining room you can see a Lego bonsai tree on the window ledge.”
To address the challenge of integrating such a modern addition in a way that works practically and aesthetically, the architects investigated a number of different design options, including alterations within the home’s existing footprint, but it became obvious that a new wing would deliver more bang for Holly and Sam’s buck.

ABOVE In materials that mirror the kitchen, the scullery functions as a snack bay, bar and thoroughfare to the powder room and laundry. “It can be hard to dry washing in cold, wet Dunedin, so we gave Holly a drying rack by George & Willy, plus hanging rails tucked under the overhead cabinetry,” says Janice of the latter. “We also included clever school-bag storage and a built-in dog bed.”

The resulting annex replaces the original meat safe, coal store and back porch, and mimics the simple, hipped-roof form of the existing washroom and wood store that sit alongside it. “More than just a conservation-type approach, the addition provides more character and contemporary detailing and building technologies, while respecting the original form and strengthening its integrity and heft,” says Hamish. “Although the detailing and materiality are lightweight and delicate compared to the original, the building form and proportions are basically identical.”

ABOVE The revamped shower room features a vanity by MMW Home and Wedgerwood, and a shower surround powder-coated to match the Marble Mix wallpaper by Mr Perswall.

The extension provides a new kitchen; links to a family room repurposed from the existing kitchen and a new scullery, laundry and powder room; and connects to the outdoor spaces and garden designed by another of Holly’s friends, landscape architect Louise Dunning Morrow of Noble Fox. The reconfiguration of these primary living areas has allowed the more formal original dining and seating spaces to be preserved with their character enhanced, which ensures they’re regularly used and enjoyed by family and friends.

ABOVE Holly says their best investment was the radiators, which were powder-coated to suit the spaces they’re installed in. “They’re diesel-run and can be operated from our phones, so we can turn them on to heat the house before we get home. The house had never been heated properly before, so after the first coat of paint, the painter had to do it all again as the house had shrunk and expanded and cracks had appeared everywhere. It’s now settled into its new ambient temperature, and along with underfloor heating and three fires, we can beat even the coldest winter.”

The walls of the extension are effectively completely glazed, with the windows and door openings in a dark metal finish. The matching roof is modulated into wide trays and has an integrated rooflight that drenches the kitchen with natural light.
“The extensive use of glazing is relatively unconventional in Dunedin; however, the high-performance glass and good heating and ventilation, along with the quality of the connections to the outdoor living and landscaped areas, gave us the confidence do this, and have proven to provide great spaces to live and entertain in,” says Hamish.
“What’s good about a home of this scale is that there are separate rooms that cohesively talk to each other but hold their own,” says Janice. “There’s a lot to be said about not being open-plan, and having spaces that take on different personalities and set the scene for their function.”

ABOVE Jungle Wall Animals wallpaper by Mr Perswall in the main bathroom is a hit with the kids. JK-W also added antique lighting from Vitrine, plaster-look wall tiles from Tile Space and a make-up station in Statuario Venato Prime Stone from Prime Panels below an Outline mirror by Joska & Sons.

There’s certainly boundless charm and heaps of history in this house. Harry’s hand-drawn, original floorplans hang on the wall in a hall, but Holly says the most special thing for her was showing 102-year-old Honor McKellar around the house her parents built. The celebrated former opera singer, singing teacher and QSM now lives in a retirement village just up the road, but there remains a stone plaque in the garden dedicated to her mother, who loved to tend her roses.
“When Honor last visited, she was walking up the staircase when she stopped and said a memory had just hit her of being a little girl running up the stairs being chased because she refused to eat the lettuce in her dinner,” says Holly. “She’s amazing. It was very cool to see her chatting to Artie about how his room was her room when she was growing up.”
“The home is so different to how it was, it’s like yin and yang,” says Janice. “It’s sad to look back at what wasn’t able to be restored because it was so dilapidated, but now the various unique spaces mean the house is formal without being ostentatious, approachable without being overbearing… There really is something for everyone.” 

Words Philippa Prentice
Photography Duncan Innes

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