The July issue of NZ House & Garden features the Westmere family home of Candice and Bernard Doyle, where they live with their children Jake and Phoebe.

The little art deco brick and tile was built in the 1930s, and offers 180-degree views over Meola Reef to the North Shore and the West. The original owner was a master bricklayer. In near-original condition, the three-bedroom house had a front porch mosaic, elegant headlight windows and charming listello detail in the tiled bathroom. a grassy bank punctuated by a knotted plum tree led down to the sea. The house also held a special place in local hearts. ” So many people said it would be a real shame to knock it over,” says Candice.

The couple agonised over the decision, living here for two years with their two young children, operating from a tiny kitchen and with only an outdoor toilet. When they finally decided to renovate and extend by popping out the back, they asked architect Tim Dorrington of Forrington Atcheson Archietcst for his input. It would have been easy to add on the standard, open-plan living room but Tim had a bigger views. “Our simple plan morphed into something far more creative and architectural,” says Candice. “We Loved it.”

The key idea was to retain the best traditional features but to update the floor plan so a warren of rooms because a more simple arrangement. In the second phase of the project, a hallway, foyer and set of stairs were added, leading to two new blocks that effectively doubled the footprint. The couple had never renovated to this extent and Candice calls it “initiation by fire”.

From the street, the home is still modest and of its era.The red bricks have been bagged and painted white, and a cedar-batten screen on the porch hints at something more contemporary. The typical central hallway remains, leading to bedrooms for children, Jake, 14, and Phoebe, 11.

A foyer at the end of the hall marks a pause between old and new, where Mondrian-style stand glass windows throw light into the space.

Turn a corner and the new extension containing kitchen, dining and living brings the biggest wow moment. A view of the  water is framed by a roof with a high apex to emphasise the experience, and an infinity deck cantilevers out into the scene. The family never tires of watching the ebb and flow of the tide, the meanderings of row boats, yachts and kayakers, and the sun sinking behind the Waitakeres.

In the main living area of Candice and Bernards home, podocarp ceilings slope upwards to a six-metre apex and frame a view across Meola Reef to Birkenhead.

Plenty of warm timber was always part of the plan, the kauri dining table is nearly 20 years old and has a cluster of Tom Dixon pendants hanging above it; Candice asked Tim Dorrington to include space in the kitchen for displaying keepsakes such as her art deco tea set.

In the bathroom, original 1930s tiles and a black and yellow listello were still in good condition: “We relined the bath and put in a new vanity that was in keeping with the art deco style” says Candice.

Blue the cat, wanders past an art deco telephone table bough off Trade Me; the lamp inherited off Candice’s mum.

The pool is not heated but overflow hot water from the solar system is fed into it.


See more of this story and more in the latest NZ House & Garden July issue.


 NZ House & Garden