Anything but timid yet strangely liveable

Anything but timid yet strangely liveable

It’s a striking, colourful home with unusual, sometimes awkward angles in an assortment of materials that looms large over a prominent corner near Narrowneck beach. Opened up to the neighbours for a fundraising tour, the provocative home of David Mitchell and Julie Stout stirred quite a reaction. The locals still aren’t quite sure but you can hear all about why its designed this way when David and Julie of Mitchell Stout architects discuss the creation of their innovative designs at a Meet The Architect talk on Tuesday, September 7 at 6pm at Jerry Clayton BMW, 445 Lake Rd, Takapuna.  

The home was designed in three parts to accommodate Julie’s mother on the ground floor, themselves on two upper floors and visitors and friends in a separate studio. The buildings are linked by a small lawn, a paved court, gardens and a ramp so the ensemble acts like a tiny village. 

It took many months of collaborative discussion before the couple finally gathered their thoughts on the design outcome. They were both in love with the warmth and textural beauty of timber but opted instead for insulated, pre-cast concrete panels, which relate to the North Shore’s nearby historic coastal concrete gun emplacements. Exterior walls are pre-cast concrete sandwich panels. The design assembles in a unique way a collection of ordinary industrial materials from the region – concrete, plywood, corrugated plastic and timber. 

A separate order of timber framing and plastic roofs are like wings or sails offering protection and privacy. 

Rainwater is collected from the roof via a large gutter and spills into a tank for domestic use. Solar panels augment the heating of water. 

In this home, the familiar veranda has become a covered roof terrace on the top floor, hedged and furnished with table, chairs and barbecue. As a sunny social centre for the warmest six months of the year, it’s a favourite spot with views across the harbour to Rangitoto Island. 

While challenging convention, this is a home where form follows function. It responds superbly to the many functions of its rooms and the owners needs from the inside out.  

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