Buying guide

A woolshed remade into an architectural beauty

A semi-rural Carterton property began life as a woolshed

Last updated: 12 September 2023

When property valuer and history buff Joseph Gillard built his Carterton home over 10 years ago, he worked with his architect to embrace its woolshed beginnings. The result is a home full of character.

Joseph, the chair of Heritage Wairarapa, explains that, due to its past as a woolshed, the entire structure at 708 Norfolk Road was built higher off the ground than your average house (woolsheds are built higher for ventilation reasons). With the floor level around 1.5 metres off the ground, Joseph and his architect, Mal Bartleet, made a feature of the home’s entrance, giving it attractive stone-encrusted steps leading up to the front door. And, a bonus, the elevated floor level means that underfloor insulation was easy to install. 

Architect Mal Bartleet, who started out his career with Te Papa architect Pete Bossley among others, has worked with Joseph on five other homes. The actual woolshed structure is hidden in the roof and the steel is the giveaway, says Joseph. Including the decks, the house covers around 300 plus sq m and is on a 2417 sq m site.

The spacious four bedroom, three bathroom home with a northerly aspect has recycled totara floors and the nook, a timber lined room with a fireplace, is a favourite spot to read.   The property has a country style open plan kitchen with walk-in scullery and covered outdoor dining.

Throughout the house, a few steps here and there break up the space. “With this house you don’t know what you’re going to see. With most homes it’s very easy, but this one is a delight of exploration,” says Joseph. 

The master bedroom, ensuite, and spacious office are on a lower level and have access directly to the garden.

Joseph, whose family history is in the Wairarapa, moved from Auckland to live permanently in the home around five years ago. He says one of the standout features of the corrugated iron-clad home is that it’s full of opening doors.

“In a way it’s an Auckland house,” he says. “People in Auckland have a lot of indoor outdoor living, so it has big sliding doors that you open out.”  But it’s also a Wairarapa property, so it’s double glazed and has commercial aluminium joinery. 

There’s also a solar panel in the roof which means in summer you’re not having to pay power for the main hot water cylinder – the home has two. 

Joseph and his partner lived in the detached garage and adjacent studio on the weekends while the main house was being built. The studio space, which includes a kitchenette, shower and toilet, could be fitted out as an artist or architectural studio without interfering with the house, says the vendor.  

The home is in a lovely rural setting ten minutes from Masterton, says Joseph, who is  building his next house just 3km away. If you want to live in Wellington because of work but you also want to spend half your time running a business from a nice, rural location, this would suit, he says. 

It will appeal to people whose childrens’ interest in keeping animals has gone, but they still want a semi-rural setting close to town, adds the homeowner, who grew up on a farm. And the tūī, fantails and wood pigeons will keep you company.

Ray White Masterton agent Tim Gardner says the feedback on the home so far has been that it has lots of soul. He’s marketing the property on buyer enquiry over (BEO) $1.3 million and it’s due to be sold by a September 21 deadline. 


Gill South
Gill South