Herald homes of the year: Artistic decor with hint of quirkiness

HeraldHomes real estate editor Penny Lewis takes a look back at some of her favourite homes listed this year.

A combination of quirky architecture with artistic decor to create the creative's dream house. Photo / Ted Baghurst
A combination of quirky architecture with artistic decor to create the creative's dream house. Photo / Ted Baghurst

Originally published on June 16, this Westmere home combines quirky architecture with artistic decor to create the creative's dream house.

Designed by architect Noel Lane in 1989 and known as the AB Gibbs house, the distinctive home has appeared in numerous architecture publications.

The mix of once-new and reclaimed materials houses bespoke fittings by artists Matthew von Sturmer and Neil Miller. Miller's pieces include a steel, granite-topped kitchen island, while von Sturmer shaped a sinuous sculpture that forms part of what was originally an indoor water feature.

With a soaring roof, the main house is a sculpture-like mix of materials. Enclosed in it are the living, kitchen and dining areas, with a separate laundry and bathroom containing a sunken, marble-surround bath. The master bedroom is on a mezzanine level. Outside is a covered living area.

Beside the main house is a two-storey, pitched-roof annex; which opens on to a courtyard.

The previous owners have kept it largely as it was when Lane designed it 23 years ago. Inside, a bold purple double-height wall is a foil for unadorned concrete block walls, timber batten and weatherboard ceilings and a recycled brick fireplace.

Lane described this house as "an assemblage of independent elements" in a book published about his projects. Some of the more notable reclaimed elements include Crittall steel windows and crazy-paved marble flooring.

Lane says the flooring was laid using marble off-cuts acquired from a tip in Wiri. Other materials were sourced from buildings being demolished. Referring to the curved steel beam between the dining and living spaces, Lane says, "The big gantry beam is the shape it was when it hit the ground in the old Auckland Star building as it was being taken apart."

Lane says this home was a significant project in his career because "it was a real opportunity to build on a small site", catering for his client's wish for privacy and sunlight.


14a Kingsley St, Westmere

Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, one carport, plus secure off-street parking for a second car.

Size: Land half-share of 933sq m, house 150sq m.

Sold: $1.28 million

Schools: Westmere School, Ponsonby Intermediate, Western Springs College.

Features: Home designed by Noel Lane and built in 1989. Featured extensively in local and international design publications and on television. Sought-after location, with water views.

- NZ Herald

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