Privacy by design

Kiwis are renowned for enjoying outdoor living in their backyards, shielded from the streets and its associated passersby and traffic. So, when clients wanted to use their north-facing front yard, which faced on to a cul de sac, for entertaining, it provided some challenges for Solutions Architecture.
They responded by setting the house back on the gently sloping site to create a generous front courtyard screened from the road by a plastered pillared fence with gated entry. A driveway down the eastern boundary allows access for cars to a garage at the rear corner of the house, freeing up the front yard.
Mark Brown, of Solution Architecture, said that by designing a U-shaped home, an internal courtyard was also created. This is a more sheltered space, opening off the family room and kitchen, and has a Louvretec roof so it can be enjoyed in all conditions. 
He said the clients, who had done several large projects in collaboration with his firm prior to this one, had a clear idea of what they wanted from their new home.
They came to him with a brief that included “something contemporary looking without being over the top”, multiple living spaces to cater for extended family, and the ability to close off one living area from the other. 

They also wanted a master bedroom with a spacious en suite and privacy from the other bedrooms. And the fifth bedroom on the ground floor had to have a relationship with the outdoors as it would also serve as an office. The kitchen, while part of the main open plan living area, had to have a scullery, which is ventilated, for food preparation. 

The two differing courtyards also fulfilled their request for open and covered outdoor living spaces. 

A mono-pitched roof in longrun Plumbdek® in ‘Greyfriars’ met the owners’ desire for a contemporary look and aligned with their decision to use robust materials throughout. 
The house is built with plastered brick, Rockcote Integra air rated concrete plastered panel system, and some composite weatherboard. The mixed claddings and muted exterior tones help to soften the two-storey home in the streetscape.
With family coming and going, the clients wanted the lounge area to be able to be shut off from the family kitchen space.
Mark said, “In consultation with them, we created a glazed pull-apart cavity slider system; this creates the division with a visually permeable aspect from one room to the other. Large exterior sliders complement the home in terms of access.” 
He adds, “A bridge on the first floor separates the master bedroom and en suite from the other bedrooms, while garaging to the rear does not dominate the street frontage and uses the south-eastern corner well.” 

Moving past the landscaped front courtyard takes you through double front doors into a foyer with formal dining and living (with gas fire) to one side, and family room and kitchen to the other side.  
The office, or fifth bedroom, is across the internal courtyard from the family room and kitchen. On this side there is also a laundry and guest bedroom with en suite. 

Upstairs there are three more bedrooms with the master occupying its own wing and having a spacious walk-in wardrobe and en suite with hidden walk-in shower. 

Modern, muted tones are also to the fore in the interior with furniture, cushions and ornaments providing pops of colour. 

Mark said, “The owners say they find the house very easy to live in and enjoy the warmth and light-filled aspect this house gives them without overheating.” 

Solutions Architecture Ltd 

Pakuranga-based Solutions Architecture is a small but experienced design team with over 20 years in the industry and a member of The Designers Institute of New Zealand. 

“We keep abreast of the latest developments and practices by being involved with and attending regular professional development seminars.” 

Mark Brown holds a Department of Building and Housing (DBH) Design License and is an Assessor of Architectural Practitioners for the Department of Building and Housing.  

The firm has completed new homes from 60sq m to over 1500sq m, ranging in cost from $100,000 to over $6 million.

Architect: Mark Brown, Solutions Architecture
Telephone: 09 576 7472 
Roofing:  ColorSteel® Maxx Plumbdek® in ‘Greyfriars’ 
Roofing Manufacturer: Steel & Tube Roofing 
Telephone: (09) 273 7610
Builder: ProBuild Residential Ltd 
Photography: Mark Scowen, Intense Photography
Telephone: 0212468367