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100 Years Young

This beautiful 1905 villa is believed to be one of the earliest houses by William Gray Young, a prominent Wellington architect.

The owners had carefully chosen the house for its great location, sun and views. They also have a significant collection of New Zealand Arts & Crafts furniture and objects, and they knew this could make a perfect home for these treasures.

The principal rooms were intact, with integrity and important original features. Like so many houses of this age, the kitchen, dining, living and bathroom spaces had been much altered, were poorly planned and worn out. The house was poorly heated and poorly insulated. There was a great deal of maintenance to be factored in, including a complete repaint and reroofing. The owners also planned an extensive landscaping project.

All these things made demands on the available budget. Our early advice guided the owners to focus on working with the floorspace available – the only addition was the bay window. The project was conceived as an ‘apartment alternative’, where limited space would be used intensively and flexibly.

The sunny northwest aspect was opened up, by converting two small bedrooms into the open plan kitchen – dining – living space. The original kitchen space became a guest bedroom, bathroom and home office, with the adjoining study converted to a third bedroom.

The new layout makes much better use of the sun and outlook. The office area partly screens the guest bedroom and bathroom, while allowing a connection with the living spaces and views.

The plans allowed the project to be staged, and the owners to live at home during most of the work, by keeping the old kitchen and bathroom until the new were ready to use.

A modern heating system was installed, and the house was fully insulated including double glazing and sealing the existing timber windows.

Debra De Lorenzo designed the kitchen and bathroom fitouts and the interior colours.

Wright & Gray chose the exterior colourscheme. The colourful plywood shelving is one of our own signature ‘new in the old’ designs.

The landscape was designed by Rebecca Wilson, Earthwork Landscape Architects.

The project was built by L & K Builders Ltd.

A year on, the owners say:

"Shirley and I are extremely happy with the assistance and input from John and the team at Wright and Gray for the comprehensive renovations to our 1905 Villa.

John provided us with great service at all stages, from the concept design sympathetic to the heritage of the house, through the detail design, contract administration, to the project’s conclusion.

We are very happy with the result and all aspects of the comprehensive architectural service provided. While we did have firm ideas about what we wanted; John was able to bring those to fruition, along with his positive suggestions. John and the team were great to work with.

We would recommend John and Wright & Gray Architects Ltd to anyone embarking on such a project." - Gavin & Shirley, Kelburn