The owners of this Edwardian home in Auckland’s Ponsonby had recently returned from Sri Lanka when they approached Katie Lockhart Studio. The family of five had visited some of the late architect Geoffrey Bawa’s famous projects, finding inspiration in their feeling and textures, which they hoped Katie could translate into their own family home.
Working within the renovated structure designed by Jack McKinney Architects, Katie was tasked with drawing on Bawa’s signature tropical modernist style, but in a manner appropriate to their New Zealand environment, and unique to the family.
All rooms in the home were addressed in the renovation, alongside a new volume added to the ground floor rear containing the open-plan living, dining and kitchen area. With Venetian plaster walls, terracotta floor tiles that extend to the outdoors, and walnut cabinetry that reflect the tactility of nature, it’s here Bawa’s influence is most evident.
‘When my clients referenced Bawa’s work, I did a lot of research around the material palettes he had used and developed our palette off the back of this research,’ says Katie Lockhart, director of Katie Lockhart Studio.
‘A simplified palette meant that little attention was taken away from the volume that Jack had created. I was more interested in harmony than features.’
Another element of Bawa’s work evident in the home is its immediate connection to the outdoors. Given the relatively modest block size, Jack and Katie set out to achieve this through innovative means, such as a low-slung window that brings pool views into the interior.
Also built into the interior is a sunken floor planter, which introduces greenery into the space that can be viewed as far as the original rooms of the home.
‘It was a big commitment from the client and the builder to make this happen in combination with Jared Lockhart Design who did all of the landscape design, but it really adds such a sense of scale and delight to the space,’ says Katie.
‘As soon as you walk through the front door you can see the top of the plant which immediately gives you a sense that this home is very different from what you might expect from its villa exterior.’
The home is a masterclass in achieving a minimalist, calm interior without featuring a single plain white surface, and drawing the outdoors into a tight urban block.
‘It has changed it completely – unrecognisable other than the front elevation to the street,’ says Katie. ‘I love it all to be honest; there is such a lovely serene feeling in the house.’