St Heliers House

This project was undertaken with previous clients of a Central Otago new build completed a few years earlier. This, was a different proposition, a renovation of an early 2000s St Heliers house to provide an Auckland bolthole for the family to use while they were in town. The brief was to leave the exterior alone and focus on an interior transformation that would be as rich in detail and texture as the Central Otago House, without slavishly recreating that experience.

Enjoying the benefits of an established working relationship, we transformed the predominantly plasterboard and white-paint interior with layers of tactile natural materials. The floors and ceilings were the broadest canvas for texture. Tired sunbleached timber floors were replaced with planks of wide oak, with a narrower board of the same material applied to the ceiling. A precise negative detail delineates the perimeter, emphasising the contrast with the light, lime-washed plaster walls and rebated skirting boards.

Within a compact space, just a few considered interventions can have a significant impact. In the timber-lined living room, a deep plinth of limestone becomes a sculptural hearth, and bamboo silk carpets and pre-aged metal cabinetry contribute a sense of warmth and comfort. The kitchen’s wall storage and curving island are adzed- finished fumed maple; just one of several layers of texture that includes stratified limestone, honed granite benchtops, and bespoke forged hardware – ‘boiled’ for a head-start on the patina time eventually delivers.

In all Bureaux projects we tailor space to our clients with bespoke elements. On this project, almost everything you interact with is custom designed; from the forest-brown marble and oak tables, weighty stone-topped dowel-leg vanities and bedroom storage, to barstools, balustrades and the perfectly wrought handrail that guides you upstairs to more private spaces.

Photography by Sam Hartnett

2022 Best Awards - Gold, Residential Interior Architecture category