Taste of Tuscany

This solid masonry home blends Italian-inspired design details with new technology, while still relating to its seaside surroundings
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A view of a home designed by MF Design.

Overseas travel can fill a homeowner with inspiration for the design of their own home. European architecture is an especially rich source of design inspiration, but making these ideas work in a local setting can be a challenge.

As avid travellers, the owners of this home are particularly interested in Italian masonry style houses. They employed the skills of Mike Flooks, director at MF Design, to bring their ideas to fruition. Mike Flooks is a member of Architectural Designers NZ and has received ten design awards over the past five years. He says with the recent phenomenon of leaky buildings in New Zealand, the level of stability seen in the masonry style is becoming increasingly sought after.

"As well as being attractive, the style is very solid this house has a concrete intermediate floor."

A strong Italian influence can be seen in the use of columns, a traditional bell tower, statues, a domed ceiling, tiling, and wrought iron detailing.

For more information, contact MF Design, PO Box 51535, Pakuranga 2010, Auckland, phone (09) 533 6558. Email: info@mfdesign.co.nz. Website: www.mfdesign.co.nz.

For homeowners Bob and Paula Menzies, this house is both the cause and the product of inspiration. With experience in building homes, they have decided to develop similar buildings in New Zealand.

"While the house is in an Italian style, it also relates to its local setting. Large glass areas are designed to take in the sea views. The house is solid and secure, which is important to the modern day homeowner," says Bob Menzies.

Although presently occupying the home, the couple plans to use it as a showhome, before putting it on the market. The house has many necessities of a modern lifestyle, such as a butler's pantry.

"The house is monitored by security cameras, so it is very safe. There is also lift access on both floors," says Bob Menzies.

Despite these modern elements, Menzies says the design of the house is very close to the traditional masonry style he is interested in.


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A view of a home designed by MF Design.

"The use of wrought iron both inside and out is in keeping with architectural styles we saw overseas. Detailing, such as a grape motif on the wrought iron balustrades, and chandelier lighting in the formal areas, adds to the authenticity of the design," he says.

Each bedroom has French doors opening onto a deck. A garden shed is integrated into the design of the three-car garage on the bottom floor.

"Every detail is taken into account in order to create this overall style" says Menzies.

For more information, contact Bellissimo Homes, phone (09) 533 0350. Email: menziesdevelopments@xtra.co.nz.

In keeping with the top-end nature of this design, designer Mike Flooks specified Elephant Plasterboard for interior walls.

High brace ratings mean that this plasterboard is preferred when a design requires a lot of glass or is likely to be subject to some impact. The product also scores highly on fire ratings, says Kevin van Hest of Elephant Plasterboard.

"In tests, our plasterboard lasts six to seven minutes longer in fire than other similar products. It also outperforms any other plasterboard on the market in terms of acoustic ratings."

The gypsum used in the creation of this plasterboard is from the purest source in the world. Van Heest says Elephant Plasterboard is the densest option for plasterboard in New Zealand. For this reason, the product is often specified for its strength when designers are creating unusual features, or where high bracing ratings are required. A premium paper surface allows for easy application of paint or wall coverings.

For more details, contact Elephant Plasterboard NZ Ltd, phone 0800 Elephant (353 742). Email: info@elephantpb.co.nz, or visit the website: www.elephantplasterboard.co.nz.

Italian architecture is known for its detailed cornices and dramatic domes and casings. For this project, South Auckland Fibrous Plaster was contracted to carry out these design aspects.

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A view of a home designed by MF Design.

To create a sense of ceremony in the entranceway, the second-floor atrium ceiling features a dome with an elaborate chandelier. Cornices and casings throughout the house continue this design style and, along with the wrought iron detailing, add to the classical look of the interiors.

South Auckland Fibrous Plaster created all the plaster mouldings to fit, and carried out the installation of these design features. The company has been in business for over 35 years.

For more details, contact South Auckland Fibrous Plaster, phone (09) 278 3041.

For the modern home, easy-to-use, reliable entertainment and communication systems are a prerequisite. Home and Vision Custom Installations were responsible for creating the internet, security, phone and intercom systems for this house, as well as configuring the media room with high-end home theatre technology.

A structured wiring enclosure, installed in an upstairs cupboard, is the central wiring point for all phone, data, television, security, CCTV and intercom cables. The same cupboard also houses the audiovisual equipment, including a Yamaha home theatre receiver, Yamaha DVD player, Yamaha 5-disc CD player, iPod dock, MySky decoder and Niles ICS unit.

For security, cameras overlooking the front gate and driveway can be viewed from any television in the house.

Internet is available in most rooms through an ADSL connection, with a network that allows computers to share files and printers.

Contact Home and Vision Custom Installations, phone 0800 218 260, mobile 021 826 029. Email: in2it@ihug.co.nz. Web:www.homeandvision.co.nz.

Oct 17, 2007
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