The owners of Matai House lived in this early 1900s home for several years before embarking on alterations — putting them in the perfect position with insight into how their home worked and, more importantly, what didn't suit their needs.
Typical Turn of the Century Layout
The original home followed a typical turn of the century layout — rooms running down each side of a central hallway leading to the laundry, toilet and kitchen areas at the rear.
Room for Imporovement
This configuration meant the best late sun was wasted on these service areas. They were also nestled up against a retaining wall holding up the bank rising up to the rear of the site, leaving the house feeling disconnected. In addition the owners were feeling cramped and wanted an extra living space and two extra bedrooms for their growing family.
Together with the clients, Parsonson Architects decided to divide the house in two, the old home and the new extension. To accentuate this difference and to connect the house with the sunny rear part the architects created a series of concrete platforms with wooden steps. The new elevated family living space now leads up to a larger sunnier rear courtyard with the two new bedrooms and a bathroom above.
Blending with the Original
The roofs and outer walls of the extension are clad in the same corrugated colour steel as the old house, but are folded to suit the functions they enclose and dodge the required building envelope.
The new living space is located directly at the end of the hallway. The space is visible from the front door with the steps and a raised clerestory roof lifting the eye up to the rear of the property and giving a sense of invitation. Glazing of the clerestory is behind timber slat work to filter the late low sun.
Contrasting Old and Modern
The original home has a Matai floor with all other surfaces painted. The new addition has cool concrete floors offset by light coloured timber, white painted walls with coloured areas.
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"We hoped there would be a play of light and shade, a gentleness and warmth and an invitation to explore." — Parsonson Architect