FEATURED IN NEW ZEALAND HOUSE & GARDEN MAGAZINE, MARCH, 2023
SPATIAL PLANNING AND INTERIOR DESIGN BY ABBEY LANG HOME
DRAFTED AND CONSENTED BY DEAN THOMAS
BUILT BY DAVE WALLACE CONSTRUCTION
CABINETRY MANUFACTURED BY CHERRYWOOD JOINERY
COMPLETION DATE 2022
RENOVATION OVERVIEW & SPATIAL PLANNING
This beautiful old villa is set amongst a 6ha citrus orchard in Gisborne, New Zealand. I was initially approached by the client to look at the floor-plan as they wanted a new kitchen, laundry, ensuite and more wardrobe space in the master bedroom.
The home is essentially divided into two sides with a central hallway down the centre. The southern side has the bedrooms and bathrooms with the northern side housing the living spaces. The northern side has a bull-nose veranda which is beautiful, but it prohibited the natural light into these spaces. Conceptually the homes living side is like a U shape - the dining room on one side, the lounge in the middle and an eastern room which had the kitchen, a small dining table and a sitting room. In the centre of this U shape is a deck with a bull-nose veranda – which can be accessed from all three of the living areas. When we discussed the house and how it was utilised it was apparent that the dining room was rarely touched (only as an office with a desk at the end of the dining table). The lounge was used but only for watching TV (it functioned as a dark cosy retreat.) The everyday living was all done out of the one room on the eastern side which wasn’t functioning well.
I suggested a new floor-plan where the kitchen was in the centre of the dining and lounge (the middle of the ‘U’) and proposed an extra-large custom-made skylight to sit over the kitchen bringing in much needed light. New large french doors with fixed side panels offer a larger opening and a better flow onto the deck (as well as increasing the natural light). Spatially the dining room stayed the same as it was, with the addition of a custom-made hutch dresser for additional storage. The eastern room was reconfigured to be the main lounge (around the existing fireplace.) The wall between the old lounge and kitchen was opened up and a new large double hung window proposed on the eastern wall (giving a line of sight to the garden whilst working in the kitchen). The rear section of this room was repurposed for a new laundry, accessed from the central hallway.
The existing laundry became the en-suite for the master bedroom, with a spacious walk-in shower, large vanity, toilet and heated towel rail. The existing window was utilised and the view looks out into the citrus grove. Built in wardrobes were designed in the master bedroom around the existing windows and a bench seat was to be incorporated.
Aesthetically the clients wanted the home to feel fresh, laid-back, and relaxed, whilst the homes cabinetry and fixtures were to complement the era of the home. Through every window is a view of the manicured gardens or the citrus grove so they wanted the interiors to captivate the views not compete with them.
The kitchen was designed to maximise space whilst being empathetic of the homes error and the rooms narrow proportions. The rear elevation was designed with a bulkhead above so that the cabinetry didn’t tower over the space. The integrated fridge/freezer is an essential element to such a compact space, allowing the free-standing oven and custom-made range to be the focal point of the back wall. The rear tile is undulating in a high gloss, the large skylight above the kitchen enhances its movement, adding another layer of interest to the space without commanding too much attention. The client requested an inky blue island which anchors the space. The carrara marble adds movement and tactility whilst blending the colour palette of the back bench and island. The handles and knobs are antique brass and compliment the homes existing hardware. A Zennith hot/cold sparkling tap was selected for the kitchen sink allowing for one less appliance in the on-bench pantry. The bi-fold cupboard (on bench pantry) houses the daily essentials which can be hidden away easily. A hutch dresser was designed to sit at the end of dining room, its colour matching the island, to house an overflow of glasses, platters, alcohol etc.
The lounge is centred around the fire on one side and the disguised wall hung TV on the other. Two custom made linen slip cover sofas meet the families size requirements (with an extra tall son!) and flank one another for a conversational layout. The rug is a mix of jute and wool and combine the homes colour palette perfectly, the rug is a mix of warmth and practicality for all seasons. The flooring in this area is new recycled Kauri (it replaced cork.) The ceiling battens are also new matching the kitchen and dining areas. Linen curtains add texture and soften the space enhancing the relaxed feel of the space. The bedrooms and hallway have a warm grey New Zealand wool loop pile carpet and fresh white walls.
The master bedroom footprint hasn’t changed but there is now a door accessing the en-suite and full built in wardrobes extend along the whole eastern wall with a bench seat under the existing window.
The ensuite floor tiles were designed and configured to create a central zone around the vanity, almost like a rug. The walk-in shower creates a different zone so the simplest version of this tile is used on this section. The vanity was spray lacquered Resene ‘element’ to complement the deep tone in the floor tile. The vanity top is carrara marble which, alongside the cabinetry design, evokes a sense of grandeur and age. The aged brass tap-ware speaks to the homes hardware whist offering a modern form. The wall lights offer a soft beautiful light either side of the custom-made aged brass mirror.
The laundry tiles worked with the homes restrained palette but offer something a bit special. The laundry was designed to maximise storage and hide away any mess.