The Smithy

In the 1880’s a blacksmith shop opened at Outram, the Taieri river ferry crossing, to service the horses and wagons belonging to streams of hopeful prospectors heading for the Central Otago goldfields.

Architect Reece Warnock, architectural designer, recalls the building from his childhood as a rather scary place in the town. It now forms part of his home and he and his wife Kelly have gone to extraordinary lengths to preserve a part of Outram’s, and New Zealand’s, history.

Prior to any building or demolition on the out buildings archeologists documented every detail and sifted through every artifact as it was uncovered. Reece made a 3D model and took time lapse shots of the site and build process.

“Creating a family home and design studio around a building that was over a century old, preserving the history where possible, was something of a challenge,”  says Reece, “How the new building would fit around the old in a practical, aesthetically pleasing and complementary way took a long time. A year to long  my wife Kelly would say.”

The site is basically flat and  situated on a corner. The intent was to present the main road aspect with a modern pavilion styled home. Around the corner the historic Blacksmith shop is nestled between the main house and Reece’s design studio giving separation to home and work.

The back and one inside wall has been replaced with glass giving clients an opportunity to experience the “smithy’s” world from the studio foyer. It is also open to view from the connecting hall way from studio to house and the bi-fold doors in the kitchen open to give access to the forge which is often used as an entertainment focal point.  

The roofline, as with any building, was a determining factor and is designed to reflect the pitch of the original building and the lean-to is continued on the studio to complement old with new. The original building retains the rustic patchwork of the iconic corrugated iron roofs of the era. For the new building Reece chose Alpine Tray in Ebony manufactured by the Freeman Group, supplied by Wanaka Roofing and installed Simon Easton. While the profiles are distinctly different the subdue colours of the new roof and the use of cedar cladding blends the two buildings together.

The roofline of the bedroom behind also reflects the pitch of the Blacksmith’s shop adding continuity to the project. 

The exterior of the home and the landscaping are testament to the passion Reece and Kelly have for the preservation of the heritage of this building. They have the admiration of Heritage New Zealand for their efforts and have collected many treasures from the past that adorn their home and property. The theme of yesteryear with the old farm hay rake, the slotted post and rail fence, wagon wheels, the cobble stones and tussock all contribute to the success of the project

The main house however is nothing but state-of-the-art and Reece has incorporated many creature comforts to enhance family living. From the ground up the home has a fully insulated poly block slab and foundation with 140mm external framing to allow for R4.0 pink batt insulation. Heating is provided via a air-source heat pump central heating system designed by Aircomm and windows and doors are double glazed low-E windows from Metro Glass and APL plus LED lighting through out the home for energy saving. The entertainment suite has an audio  visual system supplied and installed by Strawberry Sound and is the best place in the house according to Kelly.

While the focus was on the Blacksmith historic values it was important not to lose sight of our objective which was to build a contemporary style home for our family of four and incorporate a design studio for Reece’s architectural practice.

The home is built as a series of interwoven modules that, with the studio, surround and encapsulate the Blacksmith shop.

The living areas of the home face the main street and are open giving views of the street and those passing by. To Reece this “cafe like” interaction with the local community was important as it is a small and friendly town where people matter .

The open plan living area has bi-fold doors that open to the forge that form part of an outdoor entertainment area.

The main lounge features high pitched ceilings with fully glazed walls and sky lights providing light by day and unobstructed views of the night sky. The lounge opens to the entertainment courtyard through stacker sliding doors.

The bedrooms are all situated at the rear of the building to add privacy. The bathroom has it’s own exterior enclosure giving privacy to relax and enjoy the outdoors through the bi-fold doors.

There are no curtains throughout the house but the use of blinds gives added protection from sun and privacy when required.

The overall colour scheme for the home is neutral with features of dark stained timber in keeping with the

original Blacksmith forge building.

Overall this is a challenging design project showing design flare with innovation and empathy with the history of Outram and glimpse into the lives of our forefathers.

The project was regional award winner at the Otago/Southland awards and National Finalist ADNZ | Resene Architectural Design Awards



Warnock Architecture

Warnock Architecture specialises in 3D Architectural Design and is known for providing cutting edge design, high quality detailed contract documentation and Draughting Services at an economical price.

The Practice uses Autodesk REVIT and Artlantis to produce true to life 3D models and contract documentation to illustrate designs in a professional and understandable manner.

The Practice provides a full range of Architectural Services from Concept Design through to Resource Consent and Building Consent Documentation using an ‘Umbrella’ management system to ensure projects are effectively completed.

Our company was established in 2001 and had been responsible for providing outstanding service and has been involved in excess of 1000 projects providing a diverse range of professional services from Architecture to Mechanical Services draughting ever since.

Architectural Design: 

Warnock Architecture. Dunedin Reece Warnock : ADNZ

Telephone: 03486 1111 


Building Contractor: 

A J Barron Building, Outram 

Telephone: 027 486 2335,


Roofing Manufacturer:

Freeman Roofing, Nelson

Telephone: 03 5443108



Profile: .55 Alpine Tray 

Colour: Ebony


Roofing supplier: Wanaka Roofing

Telephone 03 443 1250

Roofing Installer:  Simon Easton