Built by Red + Black Construction with exquisite detailing by Armstrong Interiors, this stunning contemporary riverside home delivers a touch of understated luxury.
With a couple of extensive renovation projects under their belt, Craig and Rochelle Waghorn had always dreamed of building a home that suited them down to the ground.
Having grown up in the area of Fendalton, Rochelle says she has always had a special fondness for this particular street, as it affords privacy and a tranquil outlook across a stream. So, in 2013, when the couple returned from the North Island and the site came onto the market, the couple didn’t hesitate to put their building plans in motion.
Drawing on the building talent within the family, Craig and Rochelle knew they were in good hands when they enlisted Craig’s brother, Grant Waghorn of Red + Black Construction.
With the help of his trusted crew of experienced and reliable subcontractors, Grant was determined to impress his big brother, and provide his sister-in-law and nephews with the house they’d always dreamed of. Entrusting the project to his brother-in-law, Mike Baker – who took on the role of site foreman – Grant was confident that Craig and Rochelle would receive ‘nothing but the best’.
Working closely with Mike, Craig was onsite every day acting as project manager, bringing his own expertise in commercial construction to the table. With a shared vision, based on meticulous attention to detail, Craig says the flawless finish they achieved was ‘a real testament’ to his and Mike’s ‘fantastic working relationship’.
Before construction even began, Grant says the long, narrow site that backs onto a stream provided its fair share of logistical challenges. However, Mike adroitly choreographed the delivery and storage of materials before construction began, ensuring easy access and mobility once the structure was in place.
Pre-empting any issues before they became problems, Craig says he worked in close collaboration with engineers, Peter and Dick Sullivan of R D Sullivan, to negotiate all the technical challenges that are part and parcel of high-calibre architectural builds such as this one.
The greatest challenge they faced was fitting the architect’s concept design within the recession planes – a council regulation designed to ensure the neighbouring properties’ sunlight isn’t compromised – all while accommodating Craig’s desire for a concrete floor, to lessen the noise of three teenage boys on the floor above, while maximising the ceiling height on the floor below. And, so, a savvy structural design solution was formulated and painstakingly fine-tuned to satisfy all three considerations.
The couple’s passion for clever design and high-end finishes is evident in the choices they have made throughout the home – made with the expert guidance of Angelique Armstrong of Armstrong Interiors.
Bringing her ‘exceptional flair’ to the home’s luxurious, yet understated interiors, Rochelle says Angelique has done a ‘stunning job’. She particularly loves the soothing neutral colour palette Angelique has used to create a carefully curated selection of sumptuous soft furnishings and high-end designer furniture for a contemporary, yet utterly timeless feel.
Mindful of creating distinct identities for each space, while achieving a sense of cohesiveness and flow, Angelique’s deft touch can be seen at work and play throughout.
The central hub of the home, the open-plan kitchen and dining area connects to a separate media room and the two living areas that share a sheltered north-facing courtyard.
Flooded with natural light filtered by delicate voiles, Angelique has enlisted soft, natural materials such as leather, reindeer hides and linen couches in creamy white and taupe, lending a soothing ambience to the casually elegant living space.
The formal sitting room is a refined, yet intimate nook where dinner guests can luxuriate in front of the fire with an aperitif; the plush velvet seating complements the natural stone fireplace surround and bespoke timber cabinetry, which cleverly conceals one of the home’s many hidden flat screen televisions when it is not in use.
Designed by Armstrong Interiors, all custom-made joinery throughout the house was manufactured and installed by Advanced Joinery: from wall-hung entertainment units in the media room, to the couple's spacious walk-in wardrobe, to the stunning timber staircase. Greg Ayers of Advanced Joinery says his team of craftsmen enjoyed creating each bespoke component in accordance with Angelique’s specifications.
Owing to Neolith’s striking similarities to marble, with ‘a far better natural feel to the touch’, Craig and Rochelle were extremely pleased with their decision to opt for these ultra compact stone panels from CDK Stone, which have been used to stunning effect in the formal living room and bathrooms.
A revolutionary new product, Neolith is 100 percent natural and imported directly from Spain, by CDK Stone – one of the largest suppliers of natural stone products throughout Australasia. Sourced from the finest quarries around the world, each piece of stone is as unique and individual as nature itself.
Pioneered over the last decade, the stone effectively responds to the most demanding architectural and interior design needs, and with its narrow profile it’s an ideal lightweight material for a variety of exterior and interior applications. Creating a stunning focal point above the gas fireplace, the vast expanse of polished Travertine tiles lends an air of majesty to the formal sitting room.
These same stone panels provide hotel-like opulence in the master en suite and downstairs powder room, harmoniously paired with Italian ABK Dolphin Oak Sestina tiles from Brymac Tiles. Made from glazed porcelain, the tiles are ideal for wet areas and provide warmth to the floors with their timber-look quality. Providing expert advice on laying the tiles in this on-trend chevron pattern, Brymac Tiles worked alongside Angelique to create this luxurious award-winning space.
To perfectly complement the natural stone and ceramic tiles, Rose Gold Hansgrohe bathroom fittings from Mico Bathrooms were used, including a Select shower, bath mixer and matching spout, and toilet roll holders. And, for the ultimate bath time indulgence, an exquisite Plumbline Apaiser stone bath sits alongside twin stone vessel hand basins, which are used in both the powder room and master en suite for continuity throughout.
Rochelle adores the hotel-like luxury Angelique has achieved in their master en suite, which scooped the top accolade in the 2017 Trends International Design Awards. Defined by an oval bevelled mirror at one end of the vanity, a space has been created just for Rochelle, complete with velvet buttoned ottoman.
Combining quality brands with outstanding advice and after-care service, Active Refrigeration supplied and installed the hydronic under-floor hot water heat pump system. Selected for the ‘significant energy savings’ it delivers, the system provides hot water for the entire house.
The Mitsubishi 4 VRF heat recovery heat pump system was chosen for its convenience and space economy. Requiring only one outdoor unit to supply eight indoor units, each unit can be operated independently and has the capability to be integrated into the home automation system and operated remotely via a smart device.
Due to the particularly small spaces within the ceiling cavities, Active Refrigeration came up with some ingenious ideas to accommodate the units within the wall cavities and bulk heads, so everything is seamlessly integrated, maintaining the clean architectural lines.
Outdoors, beyond the rear deck, concrete pavers wind their way around a handsome dry-stack stone retaining wall and lead to an outdoor lounging platform that is accessible by way of a contemporary cedar bridge.
Owing to the fact that the site sits on a historical riverbed, Richard Fowler of Fowler Landscapes says large quantities of top soil were brought in before irrigation could be installed and planting and hardscaping aspects built.
Although much of the planting down by the stream will take another 12 months to ‘fully flourish’, Richard says it was well worth spending an ‘extra few dollars’ on well-established trees, like the Juniper that appears from the stairwell inside and the ‘monster Maples’, to create ‘instant wow factor’.
With their own outdoor sanctuary, the family will come together this summer under the shade, out on the deck, in the spa pool or down by the stream, whiling away the long days, spotting wild trout and also ducks as they meander past.
Words & styling: Majka Kaiser Photography: Mick Stephenson