Urban twist

Urban twist add

Seamless living and ‘a really cool place to hang out’, is how Noel Jessop describes this recently finished home he designed for friends of 20 years.

Situated in a semi-established subdivision in the outer suburbs of Hamilton, and framing an entry courtyard, the three-bedroom home is ideal for raising a young family.

Initially, the entry to the home was dictated by the layout of the subdivision and its restrictive covenants. Noel says he worked hard with his clients to convince the subdivision's design panel to switch the front of the home away from facing the street to be situated to the North instead - for the enjoyment, comfort and privacy of its occupants and the home’s overall performance.

'To gain permission to do this this, we provided quite a detailed landscaping proposal to mitigate the change to the street frontage', Noel explains. 'There are quite a few houses around and now there is a lot more privacy for the family. Once you’re inside, it's easy to forget that they are in the middle of suburbia.'

The heart of the home centres on the North facing kitchen, dining and living spaces which transition through to a covered, sheltered outdoor room. Large sliding glazing opens at both ends and draws warmth from winter sunshine into the home. As it is situated on a corner, the outdoor room also connects to a multipurpose cinema room.

'The living spaces work really well because when they are entertaining, the kids can be left to themselves, without being isolated. It also means the living spaces are separated without it being a sprawling home. It's still reasonably compact at 250 m2 and there's no wasted space.'

Contrasting cedar cladding defines the different forms that make up the building. A black-clad core houses the bedrooms and bathrooms, and two natural brown cedar structures frame the entry courtyard. The main entry has been purposely hidden to protect from the weather and evoke an air of mystery at the end of the drive way - in what is otherwise lines of homes fronting onto the street.

'They've had one or two people wander down the driveway for a nosy and to find out what's going on - probably because the house looks so different from the rest,' Noel laughs.

Noel credits the success of the overall design to the easy friendship the families enjoy. Both have children of a similar age and are in tune with each other's living requirements and sense of style.

'There wasn't a lot of 'selling the idea' required. They trusted that I understood what they wanted… and pretty much, what was originally designed, is what was built.

'We've got the balance right. It's stylish without being too sterile and the spaces make it easy to interact. The great thing about it now, is being able to hang out and enjoy the way the home functions.'

Visit http://www.adnz.org.nz/profile/noeljessop to see more Noel Jessop Architecture projects.

Photography by Amanda Aitken