This green-minded home comprises a segmented design spaced by three courtyards connected to the central kitchen and a floating upper level

Designed by Wulf Borrmeister, Borrmeister Architects

From the architect:


After retiring from a large Marlborough vineyard home, our homeowners decided to scale down as they transitioned to urban living on a small inner-city section. 

The owners' brief called for a comfortable, easy to live in, timeless design that would capture the sun and maintain a solid connection, not only to outdoor spaces and greenery but also to fit in with its surrounding neighbours and the wider Blenheim neighbourhood context.

Design response

The design consists of a near flat-roofed contemporary and carefully considered ‘broken up’ dwelling – which was created featuring a simple palette of natural and low-maintenance materials and finishes (cedar, concrete block, and fibre cement boards) – as well as ample outdoor living spaces.

To create a relaxed mood, outdoor living was paramount despite the tight inner-city site. 

It was also crucial that the design seamlessly interconnects with its surroundings, with the kitchen as the heart of the home and the pivot point for three courtyards. 

On the east side of the site is the morning terrace, flanked by the kitchen, study, entrance and a well-stocked veggie garden. 

To the north is the central courtyard, accessed through the kitchen, day room, lounge and dining. 

The afternoon deck is located on the western side of the home and can be reached via the dining, lounge and main bedroom. 

These three courtyards offer protected outdoor living areas all year-round, visual interest, architectural surprises, view shafts, and available connections throughout the thoughtfully landscaped garden surroundings.

A double garage, laundry, and several storage areas are also located on the ground floor. 

The upper-level features two guest bedrooms, a play area for the grandchildren, and the family bathroom. 

This level does not dominate the lower or neighbouring houses due to its ‘floating pavilion’ appearance, with its light colour and cedar sunscreens within a skeletal steel structure.

Cedar screens and pergolas were introduced on all sides of the house, providing additional shade and creating a visual continuity between the indoor and outdoor living areas.

Ultimately, the overall design establishes a relaxed atmosphere and an easy place to live in all year round where the homeowners feel as though they are always on holiday.


The thought-out economic footprint avoids unnecessary circulation areas and other wasted space, despite its broken-up nature. 

The footprint includes multiple courtyards on three sides to support natural cross-ventilation, solar gain, and protection from the prevailing winds. 

It also consists of a void from the kitchen on the ground floor to the first level, which encourages natural stack type ventilation. 

The footprint further encompasses solar/photovoltaic panels; rainwater retention tanks for garden irrigation; high levels of insulation; thermally broken window and door joinery with high-performance glass; cedar pergolas; cedar fixed and sliding screens; high-level windows; low maintenance materials; calculated roof overhangs designed to follow the daily sun path; and space for a well-stocked veggie garden that incorporates numerous fruit trees. 

Overall, the design outcome successfully answered the owners' wish for an environmentally friendly home.

Credit list

Kitchen designer
Borrmeister Architects
Vavasour Landscapes, Blenheim
Dimond Colorsteel with Ardex membrane
Resene Black White
Feature lighting
Accent Lighting, Christchurch
T&D Construction, Blenheim
Kitchen manufacturer
Cantwell Joinery Blenheim
Cedar, by Herman Pacific; Axon Panel, by James Hardie
Window/door joinery
Nulook Blenheim
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) Homes – Highly Commended

Designed by: Wulf Borrmeister, Borrmeister Architects

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Borrmeister Architects

17 Apr, 2022

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