Home of the Year judging

Entries have now closed to our Home of the Year awards, and we've been really pleased with the response: this year we had 34 entries, certainly the most in recent years and possibly the most ever. Of these, we've chosen 11 for the judges to visit in person. We'll then choose five homes (including the Home of the Year) to feature in the August/September issue of the magazine. The winning architects receive a $15,000 cash prize, presented in conjunction with BMW, our awards partner. We'll be on the road visiting the shortlisted homes in the first week of May, a journey that will take us from Rawene in the north to Queenstown in the south. We'll keep you posted about our trip and the houses we see on the way.

Venturi house


Architectural preservation can take many forms, but this is a particularly heartwarming story about the relocation of a New York home by the architect Robert Venturi. It ran a couple of weeks ago in the New York Times, but the story and slideshow with it are well worth revisiting:

Style Safari Wellington

A few times a year, HOME New Zealand takes groups of readers on tours of design stores in Auckland and Wellington. It's usually a fun day - each store provides a presentation of new items they have in stock, and we try and mix up the itinerary to visit an eclectic variety of shops. We also have a boozy lunch. Numbers are limited to 30, so it's also a good chance for us to get to know some of our readers. Our next Style Safari is being held in Wellington on May 8, and we still have a few tickets left. They include transport and lunch (and a goody bag) and cost $80 for the full day. They're for sale here: http://premier.ticketek.co.nz/shows/show.aspx?sh=HOMESTYL09&searchId=cf83c6d9-4e7e-4daa-a8c4-c0cffce84cf4

What to keep?

Renovations are always a question of what to throw out and what to keep. Some architects seem to advocate a sort of scorched-earth policy that negates almost all the aspects of the original building. But sometimes the most successful projects are the ones that incorporate aspects of the original structure, giving a home a rich combination of old and new aspects.

A good example of this is a renovation by Stephen McDougall and Lauren Wong of Wellington's Studio of Pacific Architecture in our latest issue. The home is located above Oriental Parade on Mount Victoria in what is designated a character area by the city council. The original 1950s concrete building was already very different from the timber villas that surround it, and it took the architects a long time to persuade the council that it was more appropriate to continue this modernist aesthetic than to make the building look like the villas around it.

Inside, though, much debate ensued over whether to keep the home's strong concrete columns and ceiling supports. The original idea was to create an uninterrupted open-plan space, but the structural solutions required to create this turned out to be highly complex. Retaining the columns and beams initially felt like a compromise, but now everyone involved with the renovation thinks it was a terrific outcome, as the columns and beams provide a helpful delineation of the different living zones.

Paul McCredie's photographs give a good idea of how the columns and beams work in the space:

Thanks to the retention of the columns and beams, what could have been a blank space belonging to any era now carries a strong sense of its 1950s origins, and the home is better for it.

The blue box

Sneak preview time again: this is a home we'll be featuring in our June/July issue, designed by the late Czech architect Vlad Cacala. The photograph is by Florence Noble.

The new bach

Beach homes these days tend to present architects with a bit of a dilemma: clients want all the bells and whistles, but including them all leaves little chance of retaining any bach-like modesty of scale. Many a charming beach community in New Zealand has been monstered by the arrival of overly grand holiday homes. That's why we're so keen on the home on the Kapiti Coast on our April/May cover, designed by Max Herriot of Wellington's Herriot + Melhuish Architects.

The goal for owners and architect was to create a place that still felt like a bach, which meant the design process was all about identifying the essential qualities of the New Zealand holiday home, rather than transplanting a city home to the beach. The end result is a simple two-bedroom home with an open-plan living space under a monopitch roof. Here are a couple of Paul McCredie's shots of it:

Building this new holiday home involved knocking down an old one on the site, a difficult decision for the owners. The old bach was crumbling and was going to have to be relocated further back from the high tide line anyway; renovation options eventually became as expensive as building anew. The success of this project lies in the lessons that the owners absorbed from the old bach, which they had liked and stayed in for many years. The home shows that modest ambitions can create great results, for the owners of the home and the beach community as a whole.

Jamie McLellan is our Design Awards winner

Those of you who have the magazine will already know this, but Auckland-based designer Jamie McLellan is the winner of our Design Awards 2009 for his 'Twig' coat stand. Here's the spread featuring him and his work from the April/May issue of HOME New Zealand:

The coat stand was praised by our visiting judge Edward Barber as an elegant combination of form and function. He also noted that coat stands need to look good without coats on them, which this one really does.

Jamie already has a pretty impressive design career: he trained at Victoria University of Wellington and has worked for Tom Dixon in London. He developed the 'Twig' coat stand for Fletcher Systems and is currently completing a commission to design furniture and lighting for a Japanese property in the ski town of Niseko, as well as windsurfing equipment for the firm Neil Pryde.

Jamie was present at our awards night last week in Wellington which was held in the Lombard Street showroom of our sponsor, Staple Furniture + Design. It was a great night with a generous crowd - so congratulations to Jamie and thanks to the folk at Staple for their support, too.
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