Michelle Flatz knows she's a very lucky woman. Having a builder for a husband and an architect for a brother means she has ended up with a dream home that has been perfect for her family.
She and husband Wal bought a charming character-filled bungalow in 2003 intending to extend it so they'd have more space for themselves and the three sons they have between them. Michelle asked her brother, Dave Strachan, of Strachan Group Architects, if he could come up with an addition that would give them a spacious, warm living, dining and kitchen area that had good indoor/outdoor flow.
"He came over one day with his compass and a few ideas and we ended up with this," says Michelle, surveying what's now known as "the pavilion". "We absolutely love it - we spend most of our time in this part of the house."
At the rear of the home, the pavilion is a modern structure designed to complement the original house, rather than mimic it. It features a striking Meranti plywood sloping ceiling, a wall of glazed sliding doors that open right up to the north-facing deck and a polished concrete floor. Dave came up with clever ideas like putting several layers of polystyrene under the concrete floor for extra insulation. The pitch of the roof, which extends over the deck, lets low winter sun into the room to heat the concrete so that you'd swear there was underfloor heating. Similarly, the roof angle keeps the high summer sun out, leaving the area cool in the warmer months.
Meanwhile, a wall of glass louvres at the entrance to the pavilion lets cooling air circulate through the room.
Exposed concrete has also been used for the main kitchen bench, while a second stainless steel bench connects to a bench outdoors on the deck - in which a barbecue is set - when the sliding windows are opened.
"In the summer we can open up the whole side of the house, and it is really great for entertaining," says Michelle.
Adding the pavilion to the rear of the house meant Wal, who owns WO Flatz Construction, could convert the former kitchen into a master bedroom, which also has doors leading out to the deck.
A storage area was turned into a walk-through wardrobe and en suite.
Further along the hall is the family bathroom, with period features such as a clawfoot bath, ceramic pedestal sink and toilet with an overhead pull-chain cistern.
There are also two more bedrooms off the hall. Completing the layout are a kauri-ply lined study, a formal lounge with polished wooden floors and leadlight windows, and a spacious laundry with access to a second deck.
As well as being a great place to dry washing out of sight, this deck also houses a spa pool and an outdoor shower with hot water. "Putting that in was one of the best things we did - the boys use it when they get home from rugby and mountain-biking and don't have to traipse through the house," says Michelle.
Another great idea was sectioning off the huge garage to create a sleepout/gym/hangout zone in one part. Another area the three teenagers have used a lot is the driveway that runs the length of the section. Over the years it has proven useful for everything from cricket to bike riding and skateboarding.
Zoned for Auckland Grammar and just a quick stroll from Michelle's family's antiques business in Greenwoods Corner, the house has been ideally located. The only reason they are moving is because they've got the chance to build a home from scratch on a bare section.
"It is something we have been keen to do, and we love what we've done with this place so much we're planning on doing a lot of it again when we build," says Michelle. "Otherwise we wouldn't want to move!"