Inside look: Pared-back living

Article by Homes to Love

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

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Not so long ago, the ideal home was one with clearly defined spaces, each divided up into individual rooms with a set function. Today, we increasingly place value on flexible spaces that can be adapted to meet our varying needs.

In city environments, rooms that have multiple functions can be beneficial extra space for the occupant. New Zealand artist Fiona Connor’s Los Angeles house demonstrates this clever use of space. Designed to function as a both work and living area, Fiona intentionally keeps her one room house as sparse as possible in order to maximise the flexibility of the space, even going so far as to tuck her bed away during the day. “I want my studio to function as a space where anything can happen,” she says.


Los Angeles studio apartment, Emily Andrews

Fiona’s studio in Los Angeles’ Echo Park which demonstrates a clever use of space. Photographs by Emily Andrews.


Architect Jack McKinney and Tracy Lunjevich took on the same pared-back approach as Fiona when updating their villa in central Auckland.  Thoughtfully renovated, their house is an example of how flexible spaces can be utilised to meet the ever-changing needs of a growing family.

villa extension, McKinney-Lunjevich, shared living spaces

A lot of work went into repairing the old house before Jack McKinney and Tracy Lunjevich started on the extension. The extension at the back provides an interesting contrast between the old and the new. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds.


villa extension, McKinney-Lunjevich, shared living spaces

The villa extension provides the McKinney-Lunjevich family with additional shared living spaces – the open-planned kitchen-dining room-living room


When Jack and Tracy first purchased the property roughly ten years ago, it consisted of a rundown villa and a neglected garage down the back of the garden. A decade on, and the couple have two children and a house that has been carefully redesigned with a modern extension out the back and a multifunctional studio in place of the old garage.


A multifunctional studio has replaced an old garage at the back of the property, importantly tied to the main house via concrete slab stairs.


Built on the garage’s original concrete base, the studio feels open and contemporary, with large windows and a twin-peak roofline drawing in sun from the north. Currently used as a guestroom, as the family grows it will offer them much sought after additional space. The relaxed, open-planned design of the studio’s interior space adds to its sense of flexibility; it could seamlessly transition into a workspace, living space or bedroom depending on the family’s requirements.

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.

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