Inside look: A masterclass in careful use of materials

Article by Homes to Love

With ANZ, Homes to Love is exploring the ways we live now, under the theme of ‘Mixed Materials’ – and how this trend allows us to live and build today.

Loading the player...


While the traditional villa will forever be a distinctive part of New Zealand’s architectural landscape, homes built today need not be made of timber. Incorporating a range of materials into the design of a house is not only often practical, but can also add aesthetic interest.

Nestled among bungalows and villas on Auckland’s Franklin Road, the home of architect Marshall Cook and his wife Prue is unashamedly contemporary. It is a house essentially made up of two boxes – the first containing a garage and a loft above for guests and the second a library with a bedroom and bathroom above. A pavilion with a kitchen and a dining area connects the two spaces.

mixed materials

Architect Marshall Cook designed this central Auckland home, featuring a clever interplay of marble, terracotta and timber


Facing the street, the exterior of the front box is made up of an exuberant mix of materials including bright terracotta cladding, a great slab of marble and a timber fins that wrap around the loft, affording it privacy while letting sun flood its floor to ceiling windows. Tucked away from the street and clad in cedar weatherboards, the second box has an altogether quieter feel to it.

This eclectic mix of materials is carried through into the interior of the house. A marble kitchen bench mirrors the striking marble slab on the face of the house and timber and marble run throughout the house in the flooring and built-in timber cabinetry. The pavilion, which opens out into a terracotta-walled courtyard, acts as a link between the two spaces both in form and materials.

Mixed materials, wooden interior, ANZ, designs for living

The pavilion acts as the social hub of the home and incorporates an eclectic mix of materials which are carried through from the exterior of the house. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds


The materials used in the house were chosen after careful deliberation and planning by Marshall, and often serve a practical as well as aesthetic purpose. Terracotta is robust and, unlike many other hardwearing materials, evokes a sense of warmth. It is also fireproof, and by using terracotta cladding Marshall was allowed to build closer to the boundary. Marble, which is both beautiful and resilient, was used in the bathroom to reflect light, making the space appear sunnier and more open. Marshall balanced out the smooth, colder marble floors that run throughout the house with warmer timber walls and ceilings. In the library, drop down weatherboards give the room a cosy, den-like feel.

Library, ANZ, designs for living, cedar weatherboards

The cosy library in the Cook’s house with drop down cedar weatherboards


Despite the range of materials used, the Cook’s house never feels discordant. Rather, the thoughtfully considered mix of materials adds to the sense of spatial variety and liveliness in this contemporary home.

If you’re thinking about building, buying or renovating use the ANZ home loan calculator to work out how you can achieve it. Visit for more information.

Designs for living

Create the home of your dreams with Shop Your Home and Garden