Faulder Ave House
“It wasn’t exactly the family farm,” says Meiring of the damp old bungalow that previously occupied the site. “It really had been screwed up over the years and itwas cold and dingy – it was pretty clear they’d get rid of it.”
HOUZZ AT A GLANCEWestmere is an inner-city suburb of Auckland, with a mish-mash of older wooden houses and more modern additions: planning rules are generally more permissive than in other parts of the city, which has made it attractive to people wanting to build rather than renovate in recent years. Unfortunately, what has replaced the old wooden houses hasn’t always improved the neighbourhood. “The negative is that youcan get some really shoddy places built as well,” says Meiring. “We live nearby and two housesthat have gone up recently did nothing for the street – the bungalows werebetter. These new places can destroy neighbourhoods a bit.”As a result, Meiring was conscious that while the house was always going to be modern – “they’re contemporary people” – he says of the owners, it is still sensitive to the street. Meiring deliberately set the house well back from the street, in line with the other houses on the street, and designed a beautifully textured formwork concrete wall – but rather than sitting formidably on the boundary, it sits several metres back. Behind it sits a sunny east-facing courtyard: in front, a garden of low-maintenance natives. “...
The couple, who work in advertising and marketing and also own a couple of bars, have three young children and busy working careers: they needed a practical, contemporary house that would wear well with a minumum of fuss. Meiring kept the materials simple – polished concrete floors, white walls and black-stained cedar cladding create a classic, crisp feel througout the house, while large concrete walls add texture and visual interest. the house is now three years old, and was designed five years ago – but you can “I dolike the now stuff but I’m very aware that you’ll be able to date the now stuffby its detailing which I try and avoid. All the houses I’ve done haven’t riedto be too faddy.”
Light fitting over table is a reproduction from Homage – http://homage.co.nz/shop/serge-ceiling-lamp/“They wanted to use a dining table which Iwas thrilled about because I love them. They’re great for dinner parties. Wegrew up with them in Cape Town and we used to have the most robust dinner partyconversations arund this round table – everyone got involved and had a chanceto speak. There was none of that sitting talking to the person next to it.” good use of space – squareish. Round tablein square space. “A lot of people do the open-plan thing so invarioably you endup with a rectilinear breakfast bar, followed by a rectilinear table followedby a rectilinear seating. And it all becomes very regimented.”
“I love the pit thing, it’s just really cozy.” it’s a 190mm step down but then it’s a built=in couch without legs on the concrete. “And that gives you the right seating height. That gives you the opportunity to soften the floor wiht a bit oft he old shagpile as well.” Gas fireplace. At the time, there were no wood fireplaces you could use in the Auckland area. That’s now changed – but unless you’re right into fires, Meiring reckons, gas is a better bet. “Someone’s got to be really into it,” he says. And gas fires are hot enough – plus this one can be ignited from a smartphone. “They heat a house instantly. With new homes all you need is a fireplace like that – they just don’t get that cold in the first place.” The house also has central heating via pipes in the slab heated by a heat pump. Meiring didn’t think it was required – but the owners like to be warm.
Tin lean tos with exposed gutters. “Hudden asmuch as possible, obviously, but there’s no internal guttering or complicatedroofs or detailing. The detailing is really sinple, basic spec derailing. That’swhere the money is. You sytartc getting too fancy with that stuff and you moveinto a different bracket quite quickly and that would have killed the project. ButI think that’s good. I think it’s good to be able to build these houses at areasonable cost for opeople who aren’t uber wealthy.”