The art of Bespoke
At Bespoke Architecture, the philosophy is to treat every project, from small renovation to major architectural build, with the same level of thoughtfulness and care.
When embarking on a build or renovation, many people feel that engaging an architectural practice is too costly or that their project doesn’t warrant it. Vincent Sanders, senior design director at Bespoke, heartily disagrees and points to a long list of clients who understand the value Bespoke brings to every size of project. “At Bespoke we don’t charge for an initial consultation and that’s because we want people to have the chance to find out what the possibilities are within their budget.” he says.
Vincent and the team at Bespoke believe their job is all about providing a great service and they are passionate about creating uplifting spaces for clients. “The value of really good design cannot be over stated,” he says. “We want people to walk into their home and feel that sense of ‘ah I’m home’, that’s why it’s so important for us to understand what they want and need from the space. We take that responsibility very seriously.”
The talented team at Bespoke turn their hands to a variety of projects including new homes, commercial, alterations, additions, interior design and project management. Here, we take a look at the results of some of Bespoke’s recently completed residential projects.
Rock Hill Residence
Bespoke were engaged by Jonathan Newble, builder and managing director of JN Building, to design a large four-bedroom home for him and his family. The spectacular views across the city and out to the Alps from the elevated site were a major defining factor in the final design, resulting in placing the living areas and most of the bedrooms on the upper level. The hill site presented engineering challenges that Jonathan said at the time were accounted for on the plans prepared by Bespoke with meticulous detail.
Bespoke prides itself on creating designs that are site-specific and the need to provide shelter from the prevailing easterly wind is what drove the L-shaped footprint of this home. Triple-car garaging underneath catered to the client’s needs while providing the platform for a large multi-level deck area for the family to enjoy.
“The structure of this home was very strong and incorporated schist and cedar cladding on the exterior. An aspect of this home we were really pleased with was the stairwell with the glass balustrade and the concrete wall, we particularly loved the look of these elements and the mix of materials,” says Vincent.
A key aspect to the success of any collaborative process is communication and in this case Bespoke and builder Jonathan, in the unique position of being the client as well, worked closely as a team, learning from each other during the process of delivering this substantial and elegant home.
Little Akaloa Home
Red and Black Construction
“A once in a lifetime experience” is how Vincent describes the project Bespoke undertook to design and work alongside Grant Waghorn of Red and Black Construction to deliver a spectacular holiday home for clients in Little Akaloa on Banks Peninsula. The steep site required the home to perch on the hillside, overlooking the expansive view of the bay. “It was an opportunity to do something really unique, in a fantastic environment,” says Vincent.
The finished property was recognised at the Registered Master Builders House of the Year awards and Vincent says, “the level of work and care that went into every detail of that home was quite phenomenal. The clients were heavily involved in every step of the process and had a lot of architectural knowledge and we wanted to get the absolute best results for them.”
The owners bought the site with an existing bach on it and the challenge was to design the major alteration of the property to fit within the existing building envelope. The client’s expectations versus the limitations of budget are always something that needs to be managed throughout the process and Bespoke are careful to keep the lines of communication open.
“The finished home is extraordinary, nestled into the hill, sleek and private with every detail accounted for,” says Vincent. “To deliver a home like this, you’ve got to work with a builder with the same mindset and level of care that Grant Waghorn brought to this build.”
Red and Black Construction
A rebuild of a much-loved family residence, this understated and elegant Merivale home required a design that was sensitive to the history of the site as well as catering for grandchildren and extended family to have space to stay and play.
Lee Johnstone from Bespoke worked with the client and builder Grant Waghorn of Red and Black Construction, to create a modern house that paid homage to the traditional forms of the original home. The street frontage features a gabled roof and the foundations were set slightly higher than normal to give the appearance of the home floating above the ground.
Single-story, high-pitch ceilings and lots of glass were a necessity for this homeowner and the frequent visits from family prompted the inclusion of living and sleeping areas that can be locked off or opened up as guests come and go.
The resulting home is one the Bespoke team are very proud to have been involved with “It has a lovely composition, the scale is just right.” says Vincent, “Expectations were high on this project, setting us a significant challenge but were very pleased with the results. Grant Waghorn and his team did a stunning job on it, the detailing is superb.”
In another collaboration with a builder on his own home , the Broom residence was a major renovation which presented the unique challenge of taking a character home, owned by Danny Broom, builder and owner of Devon Construction, and adjusting the use of space to cater for modern day living. Older houses typically don’t have the open living spaces and indoor/outdoor flow that people expect from a home now and in this case the puzzle was working out how to do that, while retaining the character features.
Bespoke worked alongside their client to understand how he and his family needed the home to flow, how the spaces would be used and also which elements they wanted to keep to retain the spirit of the home’s era. In some parts of the home the new design required Danny and his experienced team to pare walls back to their frames and essentially rebuild them, resulting in a few surprises along the way that required constant teamwork between designer and builder to find solutions.
The results speak for themselves with the finished renovation recognised in the Registered Master Builders House of the Year awards, but for Bespoke the real reward is a happy client. “Working with Danny to bring his home back to life and up to modern requirements, and have the resulting beautiful home work really well for his family, was very satisfying,” says Vincent.