With ANZ, Homes to Love is exploring the ways we live now, under the theme of ‘Urban Communities’ – and how this trend allows us to live and build today.
Join HOME New Zealand editor, Jeremy Hansen and Eva Nash of Rogan Nash Architects as they explore the home of Julie Stout and David Mitchell, a home that demonstrates that community and character can still thrive in urban density.
Julie Stout and David Mitchell are not ones to shy away from a challenge. In 2010 they designed and built a house on Auckland’s North Shore for themselves, with an apartment for Julie’s late mother and a small self-contained studio; three apartments in total, on a site that would usually have one large house and a garage.
As the population of New Zealand rises and our cities become denser, those living within these urban communities often find themselves having to adapt to a loss of space. In a city where land is increasingly becoming more precious, Julie and David’s house offers a new vision of housing the modern family.
Driven by a desire to be closer to other members of their family, David and Julie’s house fosters a sense of community, both in and of itself and with its surrounding neighbourhood. Hosting friends and family was a priority (the couple’s son Julian lives in the area) and the house features a number of shared spaces designed for entertaining large groups.
Two distinct buildings sit on the site – one containing the main house and a second, self-contained apartment, and another containing a studio and additional bedroom unit. Shared green spaces unite the three living areas. On the ground floor, a garden featuring a pond and a large grassy area acts as a hub where people can come together. One level up, and a roof garden above the studio acts as a hangout spot for local tui and also doubles as a scenic out-look for the main house. These garden spaces help foster a sense of community – increasingly vital as the city becomes more densely populated and section sizes shrink.
Leading up from the shared garden is a walkway to the main house, which sit above the self-contained apartment. Split over two levels the first floor contains a bedroom and bathroom, and shared social spaces consisting of a large kitchen that flows into the living and dining areas. From this floor, a spiral staircase leads you up to the master bedroom and an unexpected roof terrace, with expansive views out to Rangitoto offering a connection to the broader landscape.
City dwellers often have to grapple with limited space, but Julie and David’s house naturally funnels people closer to shared spaces, creating a communal feel without compromising the privacy and individuality of the discrete living areas. Their house demonstrates that community and character can still thrive in urban density.