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A picture of strength and dignity from the street, this luxury family home opens up at the rear to an outdoor-living area and pool like no other

Diving into luxury – the glittering backyard pool
Diving into luxury – the glittering backyard pool laps up to the edge of a sumptuous outdoor living area in this made-for-enjoyment family home by Mark Wilson of MDS.

This home forms part of an upmarket development overlooking the North Shore Golf Course. House designer and builder Mark Wilson of Masonry Design Solutions, or MDS, created 18 homes in the niche development and liked the environment so much that he designed a large home at the end of the cul de sac for his own family.

The other solidly built masonry homes in the street have a traditional air with clay or black shingle roofs and a traditional Italian sensibility but Wilson wanted this home to have a more transitional feel.

“When we designed this for ourselves, I didn't want to follow the sort of traditional style of the rest of the subdivision. But at the same time, I didn't want it to look like a fish out of water. So this is what I would call transitional design where it's got a very classic line to it and some classic detailing such as the glazing bars on the windows and the bands around the eave.


The solid, masonry-built home echoes its classic-look neighbouring
The solid, masonry-built home echoes its classic-look neighbouring houses but with a more transitional air.

“However, we also clipped the eaves right back to being almost no eave so that the home has a subtly more contemporary/ transitional feel about it.”

Even the colour palette in predominating Resene Stonehenge grey, with Resene Iron Sand as an accent tone on the roof, guttering, downpipes, windows, garage door, and front door offers a sympathetic interpretation of the black and white palette on adjacent homes.

When completed, the august home was used by MDS as a showhome in the interim prior to Wilson's own occupation and sold to someone who fell in love with it.

The broad interest and eventual record-breaking purchase of the home is not that surprising. While the house offers every practical advantage it also boasts several stand-out features that make it as much like a five star resort as a family residence.

“The site had a few issues, I guess, in that it wasn't a big site – about 740 m². Plus, it  sloped drastically from front to back, had neighbours everywhere and there were drainage issues, too,” says Wilson.

“However, the situation was exactly what I wanted and we pretty much got the largest home we could get on the site, hitting nearly every building envelope restriction. This was in part to maximise the outdoor living/pool environment at the rear.”

This play/entertaining area is the star of the home but the opulent interior also has several arresting design features.

From the entry hall door you step into
From the entry hall door you step into the open-plan living/entertainment spaces with a panelled ceiling overhead. 

Entering the main spaces from the front entryway, you hang a left and you're basically straight in the mix of the informal open-plan living space – with a dining room and adjacent lavish bar, an informal family room, and rather grand media room. The entertainer’s kitchen is to the right within the open space.

Both the media room and informal family room open up via transitional-look bifold steel doors to the outdoor living space.

The overall feel is transitional, echoing the home’s exterior. For example, a modern yet detailed interpretation of classic ceiling panels is a feature of the expansive spaces as are the engineered oak floors that continue throughout, including in the four upstairs bedrooms.

Another break from the strictly traditional are the home’s statement indoor real flame gas fireplaces.

Wilson wanted to make a feature of these and the one in the media room is 1.8m long – but he elongated the cavity for the fireplace and it ended up being a staggering 3.6m wide. And the one in the informal family room is equally arresting. This fire also has the latest television disguised as an artwork hanging on the wall above.

The entertainer’s kitchen is backed up by an open but discreet scullery/full second working kitchen tucked in behind it one way while the large 450-bottle wine cellar is also behind the kitchen, entered from the other side.

With doors and curtains drawn back much of
With doors and curtains drawn back much of the interior is open to the outdoor area – an ideal, relaxed arrangement for large scale summer parties.

In perfect harmony with its surroundings, the kitchen echoes the colours of the home just pulled back in strength – 1/8, Stonehenge and then ½ Ironsand.

“We wanted the main kitchen to be relatively simple,” says Wilson. “The benchtops were all mitred into the cabinetry so, again, a more contemporary look, whereas we introduced classic recessed panels on the cabinets – so there was a transitional thing happening there too.

“Then we used black mirror as the splashback and complemented that with pendant lighting with a similar black glass element.”

As MDS’s managing director had initially been going to reside in the home himself he focussed in on some elements that particularly appealed to him. These included the showcase wine cellar and touches like the panelled wall behind the giant television in the media/cinema room. Wilson designed this himself, complete with push panels for media and electronic games storage.

This media wall echoes the look of the bar area which includes a secret door through to a small office. Both the bar zone and panelled media wall are in the same Stonehenge colour as seen in the kitchen, drawing all these cabinetry elements together for a cohesive feel.

The media room itself has a refined look beyond a typical cinema space.

“We didn’t want it to feel like a home cinema – in fact its more like an informal living space. But when needed, you turn the all of the main lights off, and the LED light strip behind the recessed panel dims down. So you just have that very soft background light while you're watching movies, complete with a full cinema sound system.”

As well as cinema quality speakers, the media
As well as cinema quality speakers, the media cabinetry wall includes push panels for storage of electronic games and gaming station.

The media room also lines up directly with the outdoor room and with bifolds drawn back you can sit in the outdoor room and still watch the media room screen. Identical cove ceiling elements with modern pendants in each of these rooms draw the spaces together visually.

Upstairs, the bedrooms are large and the bathrooms luxurious yet restrained. The master bedroom has a feature upholstered headboard with dressing room and generous ensuite tucked in behind.

Then back down stairs we come to the home’s absolute pièce de résistance – the outdoor room and sparkling mosaic-tiled pool.

“Yeah, that entire space, that outdoor space, was about 8.5 by 5m – so it's a pretty big room.”

The size and look of the outdoor room makes it as opulent as any formal lounge – except there are no windows, or walls – it is completely open to the pool and the stars at night.

The closest you will get to drive in
The closest you will get to drive in cinema in a domestic environment. The outdoor room is aligned with the cinema room so you can still enjoy in the latest Bond movie without coming indoors.

The expansive al fresco space includes an outdoor kitchen that would outshine most indoor kitchens and an outdoor gas fire alongside. The space accommodates an open air dining setting and social seating.

The expansive, irregularly shaped pool works well with the sloping site and reaches to the boundaries, with engineering works addressing the draining issues. The pool keeps its open and free look with clever pool safety compliance solutions. This makes good sense in an environment where the pool literally laps right up against the outdoor room.

Another luxury reflected in this home is one of privacy. The house is surrounded by homes but MDS introduced several ready-mature hedges which create the verdant lush feel and instantly vanquish the neighbours.

There is also an outdoor area to the side of the home with a pergola. Over time, introduced climbers will envelope the frame and complete the verdant picture.

Another outdoor escape, this pergola setting is to
Another outdoor escape, this pergola setting is to the side of the home with low-upkeep tile underfoot.

Essentially, the home exudes a luxurious feel throughout. As well as the leading features such as the resort style outdoor living and light catching mosaic-lined pool there are delightful smaller surprises throughout the home – from the sizeable wine cellar display to the moody crystal lit powder room on the ground floor with dramatic stone vanity and surprising touching wall finish.

Designed by: Masonry Design Solutions

Story by: Masonry Design Solutions

23 May, 2021

We are passionate about designing beautiful solid masonry homes that will be enjoyed by families for many generations to come. With over 50 years combined experience, the team at MDS provide innovative and striking homes.


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