Although their house was small and pokey, architects Julian Mitchell and Rachel Dodd built a deck first which created some much-needed extra living space
A new deck created the ultimate indoor outdoor living for this small home
Nearly a decade ago, architects Julian Mitchell and Rachel Dodd were living in a one-bedroom flat in Devonport, Auckland, with a second baby on the way when they found a crumbling duplex on a gently sloping site for sale in nearby Belmont. They nearly didn’t buy it, but one thing appealed: “The price,” says Mitchell. “It was the only thing we could afford.”
The house was a little plaster box in the middle of a grassy lawn. Inside, it was a confounding mess of passageways and small, pokey rooms. There was no connection to the outside, and nowhere to sit once you got there anyway.
The first thing they did was build a big covered deck using recycled kwila, salvaged from the old Milford wharf. They planted figs and plums and espaliered peaches and quince, and a grapevine over the Sydney bluegum beams.
They installed a Roman black oven in the back garden in which to wood-roast chickens and pizzas and, then, one Christmas Eve with family coming the next day, Mitchell built a table from recycled timber that seats 18. Inside, they took down most of the walls, built a couple of big sliding doors and opened the house up to the light.
Words by: Simon Farrell-Green. Photography by: Jackie Meiring