Robyn’s vision


By Graham Hepburn
Wanting a home that would see her into her golden years, Robyn stipulated level entries for her new two-storey home, which also has a lift.
“With level entries everywhere, hopefully I can stay here as I get old and not have to shift,” she says.
Apart from mobility issues, easy indoor-outdoor flow was important to Robyn because there are courtyards spread around the house and, as a keen gardener, she has focused a lot of energy on getting the grounds landscaped and planted beautifully.
Robyn employed architect Colin Campbell to realise her vision for a three-bedroom home with classic looks on the 1700sq m section.

“I didn’t want something that was ultra-modern and that would date,” she says.
Colin Campbell says, “The brief developed over the many months of design and discussion, but the factors which were unchanged from the start were:

  • “The house was to be homely, to have a  comfortable and familiar feel to it.
  • “The garden is particularly important to the owner.

“Sun and the position of courtyards.
Terraces etc had to take advantage of the sun at different times of day and for different occasions.
“The site, positioned as it is at the end of an avenue of plane trees and with the expanse of garden that was to be developed, brought about the feel for the image of a homestead.
From the drive, multiple roof forms give distinction between house and garage and a suggestion of the courtyards and the character of the house behind the walls.
“Once inside the house, all rooms open to the gardens and courtyards with transitions through different verandas. There are courtyards to take advantage of the sun at all times of the day and throughout the year.
“While each room opens to the gardens it was important that each maintained its own character. The balance of wall space to glass gives places for furniture and artworks, and maintains a cosy feel especially on winter evenings.

“The combination of plaster, dark stained timber and grey metal roofing was chosen early in the design. Each gives distinction to that area of the house but the overall scheme remains neutral to allow different areas of the garden to feature at different times of year.”

Robyn says, “Colin was brilliant.
I had a great rapport with him and he listened to what I said. There is nothing I would change now.” Because the home is quite visible, despite its fences and walls for privacy, Robyn wanted a home with street presence.

With the differing rooflines on display from different aspects, she was keen to have a roof that was as aesthetically pleasing as it was practical.

“I have a friend who is a roofer in Wellington and he took me around and showed me some roofs,” says Robyn.

She saw an architects’ home with a roofing profile and colour she admired and achieved the
same effect by opting for Roofing Industries’ Eurostyle Snaplock in ‘Sandstone Grey’.

Robyn says the house feels roomy because she specified a high stud with high doors, and there are nice touches such as American oak joinery throughout.

She was living next door during the build, which helped her to keep an eye on progress but says builder Alan Chard and his team were “wonderful and really pedantic about getting things right”.

With the help of landscape designer Lyndsey Chadwick, Robyn has framed the house and
its courtyards with garden beds and water features. Your eye is drawn from the front entry to the rill in the lawn showcasing a Terry Stringer sculpture. And there are formal features such as a square of pleached lime trees.

“I couldn’t live without a garden but I wanted it easy-care,” says Robyn.
There are lots of massed plantings with plants like buxus, hydrangeas, red cornus and rhododendrons.”
With the house finished and the garden being developed, Robyn is settling in for the long haul.
“I think what I have got now is a timeless house and I am really pleased with it.”

Colin adds, “On this project we were blessed with an enthusiastic client, appreciative of good design, and an exceptional team of contractors who proudly took ownership of their work. There was  an open dialogue throughout the project with regular discussion on methods and materials. Rewarding for everyone.”

Campbell Architects
Colin Campbell has worked as a “local practitioner” in Palmerston North for 30 years, doing a wide range of work in residential, commercial and civic projects. 
“I find the whole design process addictive; resolving the client’s brief, design, detailing and working with the builders and subcontractors to see the design brought to fruition.”