Rogan Nash Architects’ Home Sweet Home project

Kate Rogan thinks about design “the entire time”. First thing in the morning, late in the evening, at work and at play, any given moment is an opportunity to create. As co-director of Rogan Nash Architects with friend and fellow fanatic Eva Nash, she says, “You’re always formulating.”

ABOVE Positioned between a mudroom on the left and the powder room visible here on the right, the compelling colours and shapes begin in the entryway, with an artwork by Sam Mitchell and an Adnet mirror by Gubi above a Haller cabinet by USM bought second-hand. As in other spots in the house, a full-length picture window just around the corner connects you to the outdoors without having to go outside. “It makes spaces feel wider and taller, and like everything’s open and not hemmed in,” says Kate.

That being the case, there comes a point on any project when you have to call time, and this home in a quiet cul-de-sac in Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland’s Grey Lynn — designed by the talented twosome for Kate, her project-manager husband Matthew and their children Hugo (8) and Rose (6) — finished as a beautiful and bold full stop.

ABOVE For a bit of fun in the powder room, an Aballs wall light by Jaime Hayon for Parachilna from ECC combines with a Dual soap dispenser holder from Design Stuff and a yellow mixer by Vola from Metrix set into a Scola basin from Duravit. The colours in the Tweed wallpaper by Cole & Son in the mudroom have been matched exactly to the Resene Desert Sand on these panelled walls and the Puzzle tiles by Barber & Osgerby for Mutina from European Ceramics on the floor, so all three spaces are in conversation.

“We wanted it to feel punchy without being overpowering, cohesive and not too jarring,” says Kate of just the right amount of colour and pattern that embraces you the moment you descend the concrete steps from the street and into the metal-clad gable house (built by Warwick Aldridge). Through the front door set between panes of frosted glass that provide soft natural light and privacy, you encounter a suburban sanctuary. It’s one that’s both inward focused and borrows short views of the neighbouring mature trees and long ones over the rooftops to create a sense of complete retreat with a side of community connection.

ABOVE Contrasting with the kitchen’s tonal greens, black appliances by Fisher & Paykel combine with modular Tomado shelving and sculptural Super Moon door pulls by Bankston on the crockery cupboard (part of the cabinetry by Distinction Joinery). The shelves and pulls are seen in multiple locations in the house, while the Pixel 41 tiles from European Ceramics used for the splashback repeat in different hues in the colour-blocked spaces to achieve a cohesive geometric effect. Tiles also make more of the island; they’re Stripes tiles by Wow and below them (see below) the Mutina tiles that appear throughout, all from European Ceramics.

Like many sections, the triangular, sloping site had its drawbacks, but the architecture has expertly overcome them, with Kate and Eva working the positives of the property to everyone’s advantage. “The street elevation is to the east, which means every morning when you head out the door, it’s out towards the sun, which I like,” says Kate. “Then the main body of the house faces north and the rear garden is west, which means the house itself is always filled with sun. Yes, the site was sloping, so there was some working with the earth and steps added to the design, but that just brings drama and loftiness to the interior.”

ABOVE Doing chores has never been as enjoyable as it is in the dual scullery/laundry intended to bring a bit of light relief to household tasks. The Resene Quarter Pearl Lustre used on the walls elsewhere in the house magically reads as pink in here, thanks to the light bouncing off the surrounding surfaces. Along with the Formica benchtops and Melteca cabinetry in Porcelain Blush from Laminex (with Blaze 2 handles and Ellipse knobs by Archant), frosted windows make the space feel uplifting, and it’s well-ventilated thanks to these windows and the door at the end that connects to the deck. A 1969 design by Dorothee Becker for Vitra, Kate’s UtenSilo storage panel is a “little folly” she’d coveted since she was a kid and imported from Europe. It’s now available locally from Kada.

At the foot of the exterior staircase, the two-storey home’s entryway is as generous as the mudroom and powder room that flank it — and all the rooms that follow. As far as Kate and Eva are concerned, there’s nothing worse than a “mean” arrival experience, and living together well starts with ample space for everyone to effortlessly coexist in every area.

ABOVE The peninsula bench forms a savvy layout that comfortably accommodates many cooks in the kitchen. Like a lot of the shelving in the adjoining scullery-laundry, the pantry (on the other side of the kitchen wall) is open-shelved. That places everything within immediate reach, but doesn’t need to be kept as neat as a pin since it’s hidden from public view.

In their practice of developing architectural drawings while also attending to the interior design, the pair are unfailingly client-driven, and this project was no different, with Kate and Matthew’s wants and needs at the forefront of the process. As well as spaciousness, the couple sought a broken-plan concept, which incorporates distinct areas into an open-plan floorplan for increased versatility — for example here, the separate snug and sunken lounge.

ABOVE The ceiling of the sunken lounge is on the same level as the rest of the main living area, yet the introduction of a few steps down from the dining zone makes the space feel at once airy, cosy and contained. Harking back to those she saw as a child, Kate coveted a 900 tea trolley by Alvar Aalto for Artek for years, so designated a place for one on the plans, just inside this sliding door.

In this home infused with not just colour and pattern but also nostalgia (for Matthew, that’s about his Scottish heritage and collection of Star Wars memorabilia encased in custom glass shelving in the office; for Kate, it relates to 1950s and ’70s details — eras that remind her of her English mother and grandmother, both of whom were artistic and unafraid of statement shades and shapes), colour blocking has been used to further delineate the main spaces. “Eva and I were interested in the trend of colour blocking, and having seen it done successfully in other areas of design, like fashion and homeware, we wanted to try it out architecturally,” says Kate.

TOP The daybed/window seat on this side of the lounge is lit by a Bestlite BL10 lamp by Gubi. ABOVE Joining the Revolver bar stools by Hay from Cult tucked under the kitchen bench are J104 chairs also by Hay from Cult and a Soul dining table by Cameron Foggo for Nonn from Simon James. Kate loves the concrete flooring in these areas for its visual texture, the fact that it’s an artisanal product that isn’t too perfect, and the way it retains warmth that’s bumped up by the underfloor heating in winter.

Part of an overall scheme that includes vibrant wallpaper in the bedrooms and rainbow-bright tapware in the bathrooms, alongside black accents that add crispness and depth, the pair expressed the kitchen in green tones, the scullery/laundry in pink, the dining space in blue and the sunken lounge in taupe. The task of sourcing matching materials to combine in each space was “kind of like a scavenger hunt”, says Kate. “It was quite challenging, but we really enjoyed pulling it off.”

ABOVE The sliding door offers effortless access from the lounge to the outdoor dining area at the back of the property, where Palissade series furniture by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Hay hangs out on the vitex timber deck. As they often do, Kate and Eva included the hard landscaping in their architectural plans, but enlisted Andy Hamilton to develop a planting scheme for the tiered garden. Tying into the inky interior accents, FlaxPod-coloured Colorsteel cladding and aluminium joinery team with Elemental handles (Kate and Matthew love a black home, but this subtly off-black hue is just that little bit softer). On the wall is a Kea 250 light by Astro Lighting from ECC.

Since she and Eva are forever dreaming up the next best thing, even the most practical elements in this house presented a chance to do something special — like the kitchen’s crockery cupboard door pulls in the circular motif that pops up in several places. They also used two types of tiles to reference European shopfronts and café counters below the durable stainless-steel-plate kitchen bench.

ABOVE Plenty of seating is layered into the lounge, with Parallel chairs by Simon James beside the custom cabinetry joining the window seat and Arbour sofa by Hay from Cult pictured on the previous pages. Lighting this corner is an Aim pendant by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Flos from ECC.

The adjacent blush-toned scullery/laundry combines two of any home’s hardest working spaces into one that gets jobs done quickly and efficiently and is an absolute pleasure to be in. Everything is easy accessible in here, thanks to hanging rails, open shelving and abundant cabinetry. That was another key consideration in this abode: “Storage, storage, storage — you can’t get enough. Even a small cupboard can make a massive difference,” says Eva. “With Kate liking to be really tidy, we’ve provided for her personality with closed and open storage, and hidden storage in as many places as possible.”

ABOVE Bonbon lamps by Ana Kraš for Hay from Cult hang in the stairwell, themselves illuminated by day with natural rays from a pair of square skylights that relate to the repeated tile format. On the walls is the same Resene Quarter Pearl Lustre as in the scullery/laundry, looking quite different in the warm light in this area. Acoustics also have a lot to do with how a home feels, and here Lassoo Thorndale carpet by Bremworth helps to absorb sound.

Blue on blue and with the same square tiles as in the kitchen (a tip of the hat to the 1970s penchant for mosaic-tiled benchtops), a built-in servery/sideboard creates character in the dining space and divides it from the sunken lounge. Somewhere you can change gear while still being connected to the goings-on on the level above (or go one step further in the separate ‘bubble’ for me-time created by the daybed/window seat), this taupe-toned and similarly tiled living zone links to outdoor living below a louvre roof for all-weather practicality. Beyond that is the leafy back garden, where new planting devised by landscape designer Andy Hamilton joins with the neighbours’ big, old trees — including a macadamia and an avocado that donates bucketloads of fruit to this side of the fence. “Guacamole for everyone!” jokes Eva.

TOP A Zzzigurat doorknob by Bankston (not pictured but also used in the office) sets the scene for unexpected details in main bedroom suite, its black hue continued in the Type 80 wall light by Anglepoise. The bedding is predominately by Città and Missoni Home; like the feature wall in Overgrown wallpaper by Kitty McCall (who Kate commissioned to make an upholstered ottoman in corresponding colours), it gels well with the elevated view of the trees next door. ABOVE Bespoke cabinetry in Melteca Melamine Spinifex Naturale by Laminex, a Versailles 400 light by Astro Lighting from ECC and a darker blue Vola tap from Metrix give the ensuite its own personality while maintaining cohesion with the main bathroom down the hall.

“We’re designing for daily life and trying to make the most of it,” she explains. “Life’s happening right now, so let’s make every day special and give ourselves joy in every moment. Whether it be having a little snooze on the daybed or doing the laundry, let’s make it all good.”
All good with a 6 Homestar rating from the Green Building Council on top, achieved through forward-thinking inclusions such as the thermal mass of the concrete flooring downstairs that keeps the home cooler in summer and retains the warmth of the low sun Kate and Eva have ensured hits it in winter, high levels of insulation, windows and doors designed for natural cross-ventilation, auxiliary spaces like the service courtyard outside the laundry with a spot for an extra drying rack, and provisions for charging an EV.

TOP & MIDDLE Koralläng wallpaper by Boråstapeter brings a different vibe to Rose’s room. Both kids have bedding and Compound bedside cabinets from Città, PC wall lamps by Hay, built-in desks, Tomado shelving, and colour-coordinated Eames DAR chairs and tool boxes by Vitra. ABOVE “Hugo thinks it’s amazing,” says Kate of his New York City wallpaper by Milton & King that she knows will become imprinted on his memory. “Everyone worries about putting personalised stuff in bedrooms, but I think just do it already! You can always paint or put another wallpaper over it later. You can also turn up a colour in a bedroom while keeping it effectively the same tone used everywhere else, so they’re all still friends.”

Everyone involved with this project is feeling pretty chuffed. “Eva and I often say you can tell how good a design is by how happy the client is, and Matthew, the kids and I are very happy,” says Kate.
All four Rogans may love it here, but that’s definitely not to say Kate’s stopped coming up with ideas. “That’s the fun thing about design,” she says, “you can always do more.”

Words Philippa Prentice
Photography Simon Wilson


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