Murphy Residence

With their family maturing, architectural designers Lynda and Paul Murphy decided it was time to move closer to town so their children could have more independence.

They chose to build in the new area of Millwater, situated between Orewa and Silverdale, north of Auckland, and relished the chance to design a family home for the next phase of their lives.

“We liked the subdivision because they had left a lot of the old shelter belts and incorporated them into some good landscaping. There are green avenues with some mature trees down the middle of the street,” says Lynda. “We also liked the fact that the land here used to be my friend’s family farm and the names of the street relate to them.”

Lynda says the site at 520sq m was much smaller than they were used to, and of course there would be neighbours to consider and all the usual constraints. 

She says, “Our usual work is residential homes and alterations, and I’ve been involved in a number of homes in this subdivision recently, so it was exciting for one of them to be our own home. I love the idea of being economical with the spaces, and making projects cost effective - it’s always a challenge, but if we give clients designs that are too expensive for them to build, then the project won’t get built and nobody wins. We, too, had a tight budget and did a lot of the finishing work ourselves - we felt like we were on “The Block” at times, but it does give you a great sense of satisfaction – and, of course, a great big ‘Thanks’ to all the friends and family who also gave us a helping hand.”

Lynda says the planning rules for this location are quite different to other local areas, which allowed for a more economic use of space. In Millwater, housing is encouraged to be closer to the street and taller, thus allowing for a larger backyard than is normal for a smaller sized section. 

The amount of fall across the site meant that the logical start for the design was to have a garage and office underneath and living areas upstairs opening up to a deck and outdoors. The home also needed to provide a large office so the clients could work from home, three beds, study, separate lounge (which doubles as a guest bedroom) and a large living/kitchen/dining area - all within 216sq m. There is very little wasted space in the design, and there are a number of multi-use rooms to avoid making the house larger than required. The lounge doubles up as the spare bedroom, the office can be converted to a separate granny or teenage zone, the garage is insulated so that it can be used as part of the house, the large sliders mean that the family room that is not overly large but feels much bigger when opened up to the covered deck. 

Using sliding doors that meet at a pillarless corner accentuates this feeling of openness and the easy flow to the outdoors is aided by the channel for the sliding door being set flush with the deck.

The south side of the building is very close to the boundary and a large accessway so the house wall on this side has been treated as though it is a barrier fence, shielding the house from view, with just some slot windows for the kitchen area.

Building their own home also allowed Lynda and Paul to explore a few different products. Having used corrugated steel walls for their last two homes, it was time to see what products were going to be right for this project.

Lynda says, “Everyone loves the wide pan look, so eventually the Roofing Industries’ Multidek was chosen, it was an economical option, with no visible fastenings, and accentuated the vertical form of the walls. The Multidek is on a cavity system, as it is too flat to be direct fixed. The set out of the sheets was important and marked on the plans to work back from each end point so that the flashing sizes were all the same.” 

Lynda says, “Rob Lovie from Affordable Spouting and Roofing was great on site, and had a wealth of knowledge about the product. The cladding went up quickly and easily. Concealed brackets also help to allow for movement as well as looking neater and sharper visually.

“Originally it was planned to have no windows at all in the cladding - but a change was made, and the four north windows were set out to suit the cladding module. A few lessons have been learnt over the years working with pre-finished claddings, and they have been kept away from high impact everyday use areas as a weatherboard cladding is just easier to patch, replace and repaint after it’s been hit with a cricket ball.”

To provide contrast with the Multidek® cladding, the couple used painted timber weatherboards and vertically arranged birch-stained cedar.

And another lesson that Lynda has learned was the benefit of providing a water tap for tradesmen to use during construction that was away from the metal cladding. This means there is no risk of plaster, paint, concrete, grease etc ending up on the prefinished cladding.

The couple also tried something different with the flooring that would help rein in the budget.

“This home has vinyl floors, which look great and are incredibly practical,” says Lynda. “The main living area floor is Resene Whitewash and polyurethane on a sanded strandboard floor. The kitchen is off the shelf from Mitre10, but we chose a stone top for the centre, and the rest is Formica which looks like the stone - which has proved to be a great mix, both for budget and usability.”

The shape and orientation of the roof was perfect for adding solar panels, so the house has been prewired and extra purlin nogs added, so that 12 PV panels can be installed easily. 

Lynda says, “The way that you always see the home from below means they will hardly be visible once installed even though they will be on a tilted frame.”

Being on a tilted frame, rather than flush with the roof, means the roofing material beneath will also get washed.

Lynda adds, “The house has a number of passive solar features, with sun used in the living areas to heat the strandboard floor - not quite as effective as concrete.”

They also beefed up the insulation and decided to have no recessed lights. With only surface mounted lights the insulation is more effective and the noise from rain is reduced.

Lynda says, “All in all the home has a fabulously warm feel with a little bit of fun - from the bright orange front door, laundry chute, fully opening face sliding doors, and toys in the kitchen display - it will be perfect for the family in years to come, and we are looking forward to a summer without any painting required.”

Paperspaces Architectural Design

Lynda and Paul Murphy believe in responding to a client’s requirements and their chosen site for architectural solutions. The couple have 15 years’ experience working in the local area on a wide variety of residential projects. They use the latest design software in preparing clear and concise documents which will fulfil the requirements of local authorities and allow for a hassle-free construction. Their expertise covers residential design in urban, rural, coastal, and medium density settings beginning with site assessments and feasibility of development proposals right through to full documentation.


Architectural Designers:

Lynda and Paul Murphy


Telephone: 09 424 7590 


Roofing and cladding supplier: Roofing Industries,

Telephone: 09 414 4585

Roofing: Trimrib® Colorcote® ZR8 

Cladding: Multidek on Cavity Colorcote ZR8 

Colour: ‘Black’


Roof and cladding installer: 

Affordable Spouting and Roofing, 

Telephone: 09 412 7972


Fascia, Gutter & Downpipes

Metal Line Roofing  

Paul Stenburg 

Telephone: 027 208 5460 

Colour:  Ebony 

Metalcraft Fascia 



Builder: Tom Dunn

TLD Construction

Telephone: 0272 337 537


Engineer: Harris Foster Consulting,

Telephone: 09 367 1070