Tucked away in a quiet corner of Tancred Street lies the contemporary, architecturally designed home of a couple who had big plans in mind for their new house.  Having previously built three homes, these owners knew exactly what they wanted – a bright and airy space, modern, yet cosy, and lots of room for entertaining family and friends.

With both their children flown the nest, the idea of a new home started with the intention of downsizing, but somewhere along the way plans changed, becoming “a downsized home but bigger than expected.” The home still has three large bedrooms but having one big combined living area suits the couple perfectly now they are back to living alone.

They worked with local architect Jonathon Moore and Southern Traverse Homes to achieve their dream and are happy to admit their expectations have been exceeded; “We love the feel and warmth of the house, and the way it flows.”


Stepping into the home on a chilly mid winter afternoon in bare feet, I was immediately surprised by the amount of light and warmth. Sunlight flows in from the floor to ceiling windows, and the luxurious feel of the warm concrete floor is provided via underfloor heating. There is a large schist wall and the stark white walls of the hallway are decorated with bright paintings by local Ashburton artist Rachel Jemmett – adding an almost art gallery vibe to this sophisticated entryway. An office and a downstairs toilet both lie on this floor for convenience, and the rest of this floor is dedicated to a huge living and entertaining space which extends outside, thanks to a large, partially covered outdoor deck that wraps around the entire living area. Oversize ranch sliders open out to allow for maximum light and indoor/outdoor flow, and the whole effect is one of light, warmth and space –exactly what the couple had in mind when they designed their new home.

The kitchen is an entertainers dream, sleek polished worktops and plenty of storage thanks to spacious drawers and cabinets. Additional storage is provided by the adjoining pantry that also houses the laundry. The room has been designed to sit under the staircase; it’s a novel idea and allows use of an otherwise impractical space for a very functional purpose. Next to the kitchen there is an area that was originally designed as an office, however the couple decided at last minute to put it to much better use – a bar. Consisting of some overhead glass shelves for glasses and bottles, a bench top for mixing drinks and underneath, a wine fridge – it’s the perfect addition to any entertaining space.

The dining area lies next to the kitchen and sits in the perfect spot enjoying all day sun thanks to the large sliding doors with light reflected from the ultra urban glass and chrome dining set. The final part of this communal area is dedicated to the lounge, complete with cosy sofas and a great mix of colourful cushions, throws and art, and once again bathed in light thanks to the floor to ceiling joinery.

Heading upstairs I am impressed by the ultra urban staircase, an industrial blend of steel and glass, accentuated by a striking glass overhead pendant. The staircase is lined with art gathered from many overseas travels, and the carpet is plush and luxurious underfoot. Upstairs consists of two generous guest bedrooms, both with fitted storage plus a guest bathroom. Once visitors leave, changing linen is made very convenient thanks to a laundry chute and a large linen cupboard in the hallway.

The remaining upstairs space is devoted to the very large master bedroom and ensuite area and walk-in wardrobe. It certainly is functional with a great mix of clothing and accessory storage. However, by far the most unusual feature of the room is the flow of the ensuite into the bedroom. A tiled space with a large freestanding bath sits next to the bedroom area and the separate shower room and toilet are both concealed behind brushed glass doors. This unusual ensuite design combined with the high ceiling, fancy mirrors and designer linens give the entire room an elegant hotel room feel, and definitely lends itself to a great night’s sleep.

Undoubtedly the home ticks all the boxes for the couple. “We couldn’t wait to move in, and now that we are here everything seems so easy.”  After a year-long building process, the proud owners are keen to relax and make the best of the fantastic entertaining space and are looking forward to long summer evenings on the deck.  In such a beautiful inviting home they will have no shortage of visitors…


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Judy McAuliffe is a writer, and publisher Essence Mid Canterbury. Her experience in media is extensive and includes approximately 15 years as Creative Director for The Radio Network, writing, and managing the writing of radio advertising, mainly in Invercargill and Greymouth. In the late 1990’s she transferred to Christchurch, moving into an Account Management role with 91ZM. In 2007 she and a business partner set up Essence Mid Canterbury, very quickly adapting her radio-writing skills to print media. Judy became sole owner of Essence Mid Canterbury in June 2014. Judy is a ‘people person’ and has found her niche writing feature stories about the community she lives in and the people who live there. She is also available for freelance writing assignments.