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Melrose House


A house with a visible front door was one of the aims for this project, as the existing situation required a walk down a side path to get to the back door to enter.  The existing two storey house was split into an upstairs three bedroom dwelling and downstairs one bedroom flat.  The house had beautiful views and a great connection to the rear garden, but the building fabric was compromised and the connection to the street was tenuous at best.  Coupled with this was the fact that space was at a premium upstairs and the decision was taken to join the house into a two storey family dwelling.

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A large single garage with sufficient storage for a growing active family was required as parking in the immediate vicinity is stretched.  This precipitated the change to the street frontage of the property and the topography of the site started to define the parameters we had to work in.  From the street the existing residence was set back and largely hidden by trees, but the street edge was ill-defined and very difficult to keep tidy.  It was important that while the garden to the front could be coastal and low-maintenance, the street edge and entrance to the house had to be inviting and clear.  We enjoyed working with Hamish Moorhead Landscape Architect to achieve the desired green outcome.

The design essentially created a series of stairs and platforms by which to negotiate the rise to the lower level of the house from the street, and in amongst these stairs and platforms are planters and areas for greenery.  This was enhanced with the use of a fine stainless steel handrail and careful lighting.


With views over Evan’s Bay and a north facing front yard the roof of the garage lent itself to form a new outdoor space accessible off a new lower level living room.  The decking here was designed at two levels to provide a sitting space and an active space allowing occupation by parents and children alike.

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The entry area and the new bedrooms downstairs contain purpose built storage as do the bathroom and the new laundry on the lower level.  A new stair connects to the kitchen, dining, family space on the upper level which leads out to the rear garden and has views over Lyall Bay.  This stair opens a central double height space through the heart of the house allowing the two levels always to feel completely connected.    


The house is a real mix of old and new, which provides a very comfortable backdrop to the everyday lives of the family as they grow.  The storage solutions add to the enjoyment of the space by allowing it to be clear.  The connection between the two levels and the introduction of a central compact circulation spine through the house also allow for the comings and goings of a family without disruption to adjacent spaces.


The house is also double-glazed, insulated, and has radiators throughout, ready for its next 100 years.

69 Rodrigo Rd - Low Res 020
69 Rodrigo Rd - Low Res 010
69 Rodrigo Rd - Low Res 014
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69 Rodrigo Rd - Low Res 017

Registered Architects

Studio 1.04, 28 Waterloo Quay 
PO Box 595, Wellington, 6140  |  04 473 9777

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