Wellington House Extension

In between hanging out with family and fishing whilst recently on holiday in Wellington I was lucky enough to find the time to do a quick shoot of a family home that I love. The original house was designed and built by architect Bernard Knapp in 1958 for his own family. Nestled amongst native bush, the house sits on a steep site below the road and has a southwest aspect, enjoying great views across the valley and onward towards Makara Peak, whilst also benefiting from lots of sun via the large floor to ceiling windows in the living space on the upper entry level.

The current owners of the 3 bedroom house wanted to improve the indoor/outdoor flow of the property, as although the outdoor courtyard area at the entry side of the house was usable, the configuration of the single front door and the internal stairs restricted this. Removing the stair to put in sliding doors to access the courtyard would mean you could not access the bedrooms on the floor below and other solutions were not feasible. Friend and Architect Mike Evans of Designgroup Stapleton Elliott offered to come up with a solution to this problem.

Due to council planning regulations and other day to day life occurrences the planning and design process took 6 years to complete and it was an exciting day when construction finally started.  The excitement soon vanished when a 300mm diameter stormwater drain was discovered running straight through the footprint of the proposed new extension and threatened to halt the entire project.  Although all necessary checks were done regarding services this pipe was undocumented and the council had no record of it existing.  To continue with construction they were required to put in two manholes either side of the addition and change the piles from driven timber piles to driven steel rail piles of which some were driven to 4 meters and all this at considerable extra cost and with major time delays.

The idea behind the design of the extension was not to try and mimic the original house but not to have something that would hide the fact that it’s a new extension either. The architect proposed to repeat some original building elements such as the vertical cladding on the lower level and with carefully selected materials the cladding to the new extension complements the original house whilst also creating a more contemporary feel.  The extension creates a new entry sequence to the property and as well as a new staircase to access the bedrooms on the lower level. The bedrooms have been slightly reconfigured and the main bathroom was moved and renovated. A new master bedroom, ensuite and walk in wardrobe sit below the new stairs completing the footprint of the extension whilst also providing access to the back yard via 2 of the 3 bedrooms via a new deck area. By replacing the original front door and internal stairs on the upper level with 4 metre wide sliding doors the entire living space has not only increased in size phyiscally but it now boasts indoor/outdoor flow out onto a new timber deck meeting the original requirements of the clients brief.

Having visited this house before construction I can say that the extension has utterly transformed the house, and the way the family live, but it has maintained it’s uniqueness and it’s light and airy feel.



Indoor/outdoor flow created by the new sliding doors.




New front door and access to the lower level.


The new deck area is a real sun trap.


Additional access to the back yard is provided via new external stairs around the outside of the new extension.


Existing trees were built around allowing them to remain.




Shadows created from the funky light shades in the new master bedroom.


February 15, 2016 - 3:14 am

Gabi - Amazing pics and a gorgeous house! So jealous we don’t live there…Worth the wait! What happened to models and the populated shots?

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *