As a furniture maker, Tony Paterson believes in quality and craftsmanship. And those principles are evident in every detail of the home he and wife Christine built about 10 years ago, with design input from Tony's uncle, architect George Paterson.
To accommodate the couple's wish for a four-bedroom home and minor dwelling on a long, narrow site, George designed a home with quirky angles, interesting mono-pitch roof planes and design features such as reverse slope eaves all aimed at maximising the allowable living space that could be created within council guidelines.
As George says: "The site has intricacies because of its shape and the creek along one side, which meant the house had to be up on piles but there were no major problems. Most of my designs have angles; that's something I am known for. With the roof planes, we used them so that we could maximise what we could build within the envelope for the site."
This threw up some interesting challenges for builder Mike Waterhouse, and also for Tony when it came to fitting out the interior. But they were the sort of challenges Tony relishes, giving him the chance to show off the skills he has used in fitting out high-end homes and boats.
The Paterson home and the minor dwelling are filled with clever storage options and bespoke cabinetry in the kitchens and bathrooms, while the staircase in the main home's double-height foyer is a feature in itself. Even the letterbox is a mini replica of the house, complete with the Onduline cladding that breaks up the mass of the cedar weatherboards on the main house. The saw-tooth look of the roadside wall echoes the roofline of the house.
"Tony is so passionate about this house," Christine says. "Everything he could make a feature out of, he did."
The project had its genesis when Tony, who owns Paterson Crafted Furniture, saw a vacant section for sale while out walking one day. He liked that a creek ran down the land's eastern boundary and there was only the green expanse of Rothesay Bay Reserve between the site and the sea views. He called in George to see how feasible it was to build on the long, narrow site. Once they were confident about proceeding, Tony and Christine's brief to George was "a four-bedroom house and minor dwelling built out of cedar with aluminium joinery so it was maintenance-free".
Work began on the main home first, with the minor dwelling, which is separated from it by a carport, built in 2006.
To maintain the distinctive profile of the home, Tony says there are no external waste pipes. He even went so far as to cover the heat pump's external unit with slatted timber so it wouldn't ruin the home's lines. On the ground floor, living spaces stretch along the eastern side of the house, facing the sea views, with a large lounge connected to the kitchen/family room via a cavity slider. Throughout these spaces, Tony has clad the steel beams with gleaming Pacific rimu to complement the skirting boards and architraves.
These living spaces open out to a long deck that has a glass balustrade to allow unimpeded views of the sea. The creek creates a natural divide between the park and the elevated home, with the views framed by a pohutukawa. When children Katie and Matthew were younger, they would spend a lot of time at the park and its playground, with Christine able to keep an eye on them. At the southern end of the house is an internal-access garage fitted out, as you would expect, with draws, shelves and benches to create a versatile workshop.
Upstairs, part of the landing serves as an office space, and another deck stretches along the eastern face, with bedrooms opening on to it.
The main bathroom and master bedroom en suite have bespoke and beautifully detailed vanities.
George says the two-bedroom minor dwelling "picks up the same themes as the main house but it is a much lighter structure".
Again, the fit out is elegantly detailed, with the living space opening out to a sunny, north-facing patio.
Tony says because it was going to be the family home and he wanted to showcase his skills he has given every job inside and out "110 per cent", and it will be hard to leave such a labour of love behind. However, the couple has decided to free up some capital to give them options, while still planning to remain living in the area.