13 November 2011


ABOVE  A combination of cladding materials was used on the house, including aluminium weatherboards for a contemporary twist on a classic look.

Moving from a one-acre rural property was tough, but a three level home in the city quickly convinced this family that it was time to pack their bags. 

Words Soraya Nicholas     Photography Kelsi Duin

David and Marie had been looking to move for some time from their one-acre property in Titirangi, ready to be closer to town, but finding the right home was not as easy as they had hoped. With three children, two dogs and two cats, they still needed space, and they were more interested in purchasing an already completed house than building from scratch.

When David visited a home for sale and reported back to Marie, they thought it could be right, but in the end they were not entirely convinced. Until their real estate agent showed them the front house in the small development, which the owner had intended to keep as a private dwelling rather than selling it on. “It felt 100% right,” says Marie. “We could picture our family there as soon as we walked through, and we basically told them we were interested. Twenty four hours later it was a done deal!” The home was almost finished, however David and Marie were able to make some minor changes to what was left to do, as well as completing the landscaping and fencing to keep their animals contained. “It really appealed to us because it was modern and low maintenance, and the three levels work even better than we’d imagined for our family,” explains Marie. Their eldest son, who attends university, has the entire ground floor to himself, which is “like a self-contained flat.” The middle level houses the master bedroom and the living and dining areas, and the top floor is for the couple’s other son and daughter to share.

The home was designed by Mark Rantin of MRA Design Ltd, with the experienced design company devising the plan to subdivide the original section. They incorporated a plan to keep an existing house, and build two new ones. “The design had to make the most effective use of a south-sloping small city site, to create a family home,” says MRA director Wendy Metcalfe. “The inspiration for the design comes from the challenge of selecting products of strength and durability, that had simple clean lines, and then using them to create a fresh, modern aesthetic.” The incorporation of three levels was important to the developer too, with the original idea being for the bottom level to be used as an office/living space.

Mark worked with the developer to select the best cladding for the project. One of the primary cladding materials used was Nu-Wall Mono 190 profile aluminium weatherboards, supplied by Nu-Wall Aluminium Cladding Limited. Finished in a Charcoal Matt powder-coated colour, the weatherboards are visually exciting, durable and completely low maintenance. The weatherboards interlock to ensure complete weather tightness, and the actual installation process is tested and appraised by BRANZ. For this home, the cladding was placed in both a horizontal and vertical fashion, to create a modern twist on the classic weatherboard style of home.

While MRA Ltd provided the design, it was John Chalk from John Chalk Builders in charge of the actual construction. The experienced builder worked hard to create the straight, square lines requested by the client, “with as little detail showing as possible when transitioning from one exterior cladding to another.” John also used a number of other unique techniques, building with steel framing and concrete-filled polystyrene blocks. An external stairwell was also incorporated, which had to be made to a certain size to allow for an exact number of weatherboards. One of the most challenging aspects of the construction was the time-consuming aspect of joining the different exterior cladding materials together. “The steel frame had to connect to the building wrap, then a cavity batten with a thermal break, and then that had to be connected to the aluminium cladding with the appropriate fixing,” says John.

To see more from this home pick up a copy of the lastest issue of homestyle. On sale now at supermarkets and book stores nationwide.

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