Villa from the street – but that's only half the story

In this project, modern architectural forms and heritage villa design are connected through space and materials, for an individual family home

Designed by Mark McLeay, Creative Arch

From the architectural designer:

Project summary and description

There’s a common misconception that old and new don’t mix – that modern architecture and heritage villas are at opposite ends of the design spectrum. 

However, exciting design challenges the status quo.

In this project, modern architectural forms and heritage villa design are connected and distanced through space and materials, creating a truly individual family home.

The site’s Historic Heritage and Special Character zone was the starting point of design decisions. 

When the sought-after site was subdivided, giving our homeowners space 50 metres from the road, there was a chance to honour the streetscape in a truly unique way.

From the street, only a traditional gable form is visible. 

On approach, it rises above the solid forms of the ground level, white weatherboards contrasting with cedar and brick blades. 

The striking double height entry leads to generous open plan living and dining spaces, with additional scullery and separate living space. 

The hallway’s cedar wall conceals a hidden door to the master wing.

This end of the home is the pinnacle of relaxed, modern living. 

Indoor and outdoor living rooms form one large space, separated only by one full height glass door. 

The outdoor room is complete with kitchen, barbecue, fireplace and outdoor television, protected by louvres above.

Around the outdoor spaces and across the site, existing vegetation was protected, and new native planting added for privacy, enhancing an established landscaped property.

Above, three more bedrooms, as well as the family room and a study nook rest under the simple gable form.

Design features & creative solutions

The historic significance of Mt Albert’s 19th and 20th century homes are protected by the site’s zone and became a driver of key design decisions and opportunities.

The home honours both the historic and modern moments in our design evolution, blending and contrasting the two.

The modern form elevates the traditional gable structure into the eyeline, hiding itself completely upon approach. 

It’s only through the front door that its true form is exposed. 

From the soffit, soft cedar wraps inside and up, through a striking double height entry, to the ceiling far above.

On the exterior, the contrast of modern and traditional is a striking feature, but inside, it’s all about connection – large, open plan spaces with effortless flow, connected by materials that draw and direct the eye.

The home reveals itself as you move through it, each internal space connected seamlessly to the next. 

Materials connect interior and exterior spaces. 

The brick entry wall wraps to the master bedroom, continuing through to the dining/outdoor room and pool wall. 

Concrete floors on the ground floor maximise solar gain, drawing sunlight from the skylights and windows throughout the day for warmth in the evenings.

Indoor and outdoor living is seamlessly connected, spaces for any occasion or weather. 

Above, large joinery units are protected by steel shrouds, a modern twist that adds weather protection and visual depth to the traditional shape.

Here in the private backyard, the full extent of the exterior contrast is revealed. 

The gabled form cantilevers out, its white timber weatherboards contrasting dramatically with the contemporary dark cedar and brick forms below.

It’s one-off, dramatic architecture, but above all, it’s comfortable family living.

Credit list

Architectural designer
Day Construction
Interior designers
Mark McLeay, Sam McCabe, Tania Allen
Roof – Monoghan; flashings – Sheetmetals
Lancer Windows
Bathroom tiles
TileTech/Tile Space
Indoor – Auckland Fires; outdoor – Fires by Design
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) Homes – Highly Commended
Structural engineer
Andrew Waite – DHC Consulting Group
Kitchen designer
JF CAD Draughting & Design
Brick veneer – Stellaria; cedar wall Cladding – Hermpac; cedar internal wall – TimberTech
Louvre system
Door hardware
Windsor Hardware
Southpaw Electrical
Pace Pools

Designed by: Creative Arch

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Andy Chui, Drawphoto

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