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Classic villa exterior meets contemporary interior in this large family home

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New villa with traditional weatherboard exterior and verandah with contemporary, open-plan interior

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With high ceilings, attractive timber detailing, and a classic use of materials, houses designed around 100 years ago had a lot going for them. That's apart from one important thing – due to small rooms, poor connections and limited light, they were unpleasant to actually live in.

This house, by Paul Leuschke of Leuschke Kahn Architects with residential developer and project manager Andy Blyth of InsideOut Ltd, achieves the best of both worlds – a grand traditional exterior with modern, open-plan interiors.

"First the existing single-level house was dispatched on the back of a truck," says Leuschke.

"Then, with the site clear, we followed Andy Blyth's brief for a large two-storey family house with classic street appeal – contrasted by an airy, light-filled interior with plenty of room to move."

Setting the new home over two levels created views to the city from the upstairs spaces. It also meant the home is on show to passers by. The original, low-set house had no street presence – only its roof was seen from the pavement.

With an old-school, wrap-around verandah, white weatherboards, a corrugated iron roof, dainty filigree trimming and turned rail posts on the verandah, the exterior has a classic face. The only clues to the home's contemporary nature from outside are its over-sized windows, to maximise views, and the deep verandah – old houses have slender wrap-around walkways.

Stepping in the front door and turning right, an entry hall with powder room gives way to the open-plan living, dining, kitchen and family rooms. The house is split level. Up some steps to the rear of the main living volume is the generous master bedroom, walk-in wardrobe and ensuite – looking to the rear of the property. The master bedroom has generous dormers on two walls, providing morning and afternoon sun.

Down a half level from the parental retreat there are two children's bedrooms and a second lounge which opens out onto an afternoon lawn area. Down another half level there are further bedrooms, a wine cellar, laundry and, tucked out of sight around the side, a two-car garage.

In terms of design, decor and finishes, the interiors are clean-lined and airy but with nods to the past. One of the main features that would have been in evidence in the 1900s are the high ceilings – here, they are a soaring 3.2m high.

"Elements like the panelled ceilings, a pressed tin backsplash and panelled island in the kitchen, the high toekicks and detailed fire surround are all loose interpretations of classic elements, meant to add the character of the past rather than replicate history," Leuschke says.

Everything looks pristine in traditional white, with the stained oak floors that run right through the home setting off the pale tones.

Despite the old-world exterior and classic detail nods on the interior, this is a modern home in terms of function, and day-to-day living.

Seen from the entry, a long, rectangular pool runs down the sunny side of the house, spelling summer fun and socialising in any century.


First published date: 25 September 2015

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Credit List

Property developer Andy Blyth
Architect Paul Leuschke, Leuschke Kahn Architects
Project engineer Joshua Ng, JNG Engineers
Project manager Andy Blythinterior design Andy Blyth and Simon Gill of Interior Concepts
Landscape design Andy Blyth and Gordon Booth
Roof Corrugated iron
Kitchen KMD Kitchens
Kitchen pressed metal Stamp
Benchtops in kitchen and scullery Arabescato polished marble
Kitchen tapware Retta Pos, Solo
Fireplace Real Fires
Feature lighting Muruno
Wood floors American oak by Freedom Flooring
Paint Dulux
Carpet Carpet Mill
Shutters Plantation Shutters
Villa decoration detail Bungalow and VillaFeature
Lighting Murano Plus
Glass for shower/pool Platinum Glass
Bathroom tiles Calacatta White Italian porcelain
Bathroom tapware Vado
Bath, heated towel rails, vanities Universal Plumbing Plus
Gates Wooden Gates Waiuku
Garage doors Doors 2000
Pool Natural Pools and Rock
Plants Twining Valley Nurseries