Dynamic duo

SMBC architectural builders take a leaf from the past and a look to the future in designing and delivering two stylish townhouses. These beauties are now on the market and open to view.


Two townhouses overlooking the idyllic St James Park in Papanui are a showcase for the design and building talent of SMBC Architectural Builders. For company director Sam Manson, the completion of the project concludes a long held passion to take on his own construction project to showcase the design and build capabilities of the company he founded and manages. “We have completed many amazing projects for clients, but I wanted to do our own project this time around, to show what we can do,” Sam says. Building and architecture is in his DNA and he drew on the expertise of colleagues and design professionals in this collaborative project.

Time taken finding the perfect site has been time well spent. Sam admits he attended many auctions before finding a superb site in the popular St James Avenue. Just a few minutes’ walk from shops, cafes and restaurants, 10 minutes’ drive from the city and the same distance – in the opposite direction – from the airport makes each of the 185 square metre stand-alone townhouses ideal for a range of occupants. They will suit a professional couple, those with a young family, baby boomers considering downsizing or anyone wanting to enjoy a superbly designed and built home, fully landscaped and featuring the latest quality fittings.

From the street, the townhouses look strikingly fresh and modern. A raw concrete feature wall complements the shiplap cedar cladding and the black window joinery, flashings and downpipes. The craftsmanship of the builders is evident in the entry porch where cedar cladding has been painstakingly laid to wrap around the entire entry structure. A black rain chain in lieu of a standard downpipe adds interest and gives guests a hint of the architectural features inside and out.


On the ground floor, the kitchen overlooks the entire open plan living area that includes a kitchen, dining area and lounge. Large sliders open out seamlessly to sunny, sheltered courtyards front and back. The architectural style of the interior is reflected in the landscaping where lush lawn, specimen trees, kwila decking, planters, inbuilt seating and selective planting combines for outdoor spaces that are an extension of the interior living area.

Black lacquer joinery, a high-gloss black mirror splashback and premium appliances in the kitchen are themes echoed throughout the rest of the home. The kitchens in each unit are designed by Kristen Reid. They share the same plan but each comes with a different finish. The sleek joinery features the latest fixtures and fittings including a Primestone composite benchtop, double dish drawers and bespoke lighting under and over the bench.

Black door and cupboard handles, towel rails and tapware are high quality and specially chosen to suit the modernist contemporary style. American oak on the living area floor is replicated in the sliding doors that separate the master suite and the cosy living room - that could be a media room or a fourth bedroom – from the main living zone. The custom-designed doors are top hung on black rails and open or closed, create a sense of the floor morphing into the wall. Ceilings in each of the lounges are over height and raked to add interest and volume to the interior.


In the guest powder room Chevron hex tiles have been placed in a herringbone pattern. Italian tiles have been chosen for all the bathrooms and in the master suite a frosted glass door separates the ensuite bathroom from the fully shelved dressing room. Inbuilt toilet cisterns save space and create a seamless wall finish. Plumbline oval basins set on free hanging ply vanity units continue the black and white theme.

Each home has been highly specced with a ducted heat recovery system throughout. “We have created a living environment that reflects how a home should be; healthy, warm and ideal for its residents,” Sam says. “The heat and air conditioning system is like having an open window. Even when you are out, the home is breathing.”

Storage has been a carefully considered priority; each of the three bedrooms has an inbuilt wardrobe and a drawdown ladder accessing the roof cavity provides attic space the width of each townhouse.

LED strip lighting lights the stairwell and at the top wooden slats in lieu of a solid wall offer views to the lounge below. Every detail has been considered and the installation of an additional duplicate slat frame, on a slider, enables the opening to be closed if required for warmth or privacy. On the upper level there are two additional bedrooms and a generous bathroom featuring a large tub and glass and tiled shower. A study nook inset in a hall area overlooking the stairwell and a large feature window beyond is an example of form meeting function in the architectural detailing. The front apartment picture window overlooks the tree-lined street and in the rear apartment, the window affords views over the park.

Each apartment is completely standalone and a brick wall between each titled property ensures privacy. A flush panel cedar door enables easy access and close parking to the double garage where the laundry occupies a recess under the stairwell.


“We love building and we love good architecture,“ Sam says, reiterating that they bring the same level of expertise and passion to everything they do. “We have thoroughly enjoyed bringing this project to fruition. Primarily we are builders, not developers. We replicate this same standard of workmanship on every project and we welcome clients who want that assurance for their new dream home.”

The townhouses are open to view.

021 510 985 | smbc.co.nz

words: ady shannon, photography: Sarah Crozier

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