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Nestled in a tranquil, leafy and esteemed residential enclave, stands an emblematic Christchurch brick bungalow, originally envisioned in 1980 by Trengrove and Blunt architects. With its historic two-bedroom configuration, replicated in part along the street, this property beckoned for a transformative touch to harmonize the homes architectural grandeur with modern living while accentuating its intrinsic connection to its established garden setting.


Commissioned by a discerning couple of avid gardeners, our task was clear: to dissolve the separation of internal space, infusing a cohesive, modern layout while establishing a secluded private courtyard garden aesthetic. Our challenge was to consider the transformation of the entire plan whilst embracing access to natural sunlight throughout the year and curate a cohesive and functional residence for our clients, a semi-retired couple looking for relaxed living in the heart of a vibrant locale.


The existing layout centred around a large open foyer space with the arrangement of other living areas and two bedrooms radiating off this all wrapped between a private rear courtyard garden and an exposed grass terrace to the street. Whilst this layout suited modern living 40+ years ago, it lacked openness and interaction with the garden.


As part of the design brief, we incorporated a dedicated area for a feature baby grand piano and addressed specific acoustic requirements to include this within the main vaulted living area. With a focus on snug winters by the fire and seamless indoor -outdoor flow in summer, our design has relinquished the full potential of the site.


Our design approach ingeniously repurposed existing spaces while seamlessly integrating new amenities. Comprising two main gable forms engaging with the street elevation, creates a dynamic, symmetrical, bold and striking architectural aesthetic. One gable forms the extension for the previous hip roof structure over the garage and contains the guest suite at the rear. The new master suite is orientated towards a private front courtyard space and feature En-suite bathroom. A rear flexible guest suite doubles as a secondary living room with direct engagement to the garden via purpose-built box window seat. The right-hand form contains the open concept main social spaces with connection to both rear and front formed courtyard gardens.


Privacy is gracefully maintained along the street with a solid brick wall adorned with Boston ivy, serving as a captivating feature throughout the seasons and provides interest and contrast to the summer filtered morning shade from the established street tree.


Sustainability aspects considered include: leveraging existing spaces, employing low-maintenance materials, reducing construction waste and conscious management in the reduction of demolition to the existing structure. Strategically designed roof overhangs were also considered as part of the design to mitigate overheating in summer, lowering cooling costs and enhancing energy efficiency.


Despite a modest 17m² addition, by consolidating the layout, creating semi flexible and fluid social spaces, and streamlining the exterior aesthetics through the removal of conservatories and bay windows, and ensures every inch of the section was thoughtfully utilized and provided a versatile and engaging living environment.


A Full interior remodel was required given the properties historic ad hoc layout. Our renovation of this classic style home has transformed it into a cohesive modern family home with a practical, flexible and adaptable plan, and provides an intrinsic connection to its established garden setting.

Photography: Hazel Redmond


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