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Inside look: A home full of personality

Article by Homes to Love

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

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Personalising a house is about more than switching up the furniture and going in for a new coat of new paint. It’s about shaping your home around the things you treasure, and creating a place that fits with the way you and your family live.

When photographer Patrick Reynolds and his wife, writer Maria Majsa, fell in love with a compact 1905 villa they knew they would have to renovate in order to make the house work for their family. They commissioned architect Malcolm Walker to rework the villa, and asked him to add an extension containing “a cave and a stage”: a snug, quieter living room and a social family kitchen-dining area.

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The extension is comprised of spaces to encourage family interaction but also spaces for retreat; a ‘stage’ and a ‘cave’.


Constructed out of a mix of materials including poured in-situ concrete and natural timber, the extension feels contemporary while still retaining a sense of warmth. It is the perfect foil for Patrick and Maria’s collection of modern art and modernist furniture. In a home of blank white walls, their furnishings and artworks would stand out starkly, but here they engage with the space and materials in a way that feels considered and personal.

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Patrick and Maria’s collection of art and furnishings engage with the space and materials in a way that feels considered and personal.


Although the addition has a distinctly modern feel, it is sympathetic to the original building. The concrete walls, for example, have been poured using timber frames that mirror the shapes of the villa’s weatherboards, and the windows have been made of painted-white timber. It was important to Patrick and Maria that the character of the villa be retained, as it was villa’s charms that had initially attracted them to the area.

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Architect Malcolm Walker created a link between the existing house and the extension by continuing the line of the villa’s central corridor into the new wing.


The couple’s preservation of the existing house is its own form of personalisation. Their three children sleep in the villa, and one of the rooms has been turned into a music room where the two eldest have band practices. With its traditional structure of secluded, individual rooms coming off from a central corridor, the villa provides the ideal private spaces to retreat to.

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The ‘stage’ is an open, light-filled space where most of the family living takes place.


While rooms to retreat to are important for a growing family, so too are areas for social engagement. Through the extension, Malcolm introduced generous shared spaces that were not present in the existing house. The open, light-filled dining room that he designed acts as the heart of the house; it’s where the old and new structures meet and is the central living area where the family can gather. It is relaxed, inviting and ideally suited to this busy and vibrant family of five.

Photography by: Patrick Reynolds

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

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