Feature article

Designer Mellons Bay family home ready in time for Christmas

A designer home, pool complex and pool house will fit the bill for families wanting to enter the Macleans school zone.

If you’re planning to have the family together at Christmas, and you have your own brood, this welcoming, contemporary home, complete with pool and spa complex plus cottage, is well worth a look.

Owners of this designer Mellons Bay home, Hollie and Ross McConnell, bought the original small two bedroom house on the 1012 sq m site over 11 years ago. They lived in it for a couple of years before working with an architect to build this attractive, four bedroom, two bathroom home plus cottage. 

The process was such a big learning experience that Ross, owner manager of Faulkner Construction and a successful entrepreneur, has written a blog on the things he learned along the way. The experience of this home project triggered his return to the building industry, he says.

Hollie, whose career has included physiotherapy and working for Microsoft, also has project manager on her CV thanks to this house. “I stained every cedar board,” she says. 

At the outset, the couple asked their young boys what they would like to have in their spaces. One request was for an underground science lab which led to three loft-style bedrooms in the boys' part of the house.  

“They love retreating to their private havens upstairs,” says Hollie. 

The materials used in the house are part of what make this well thought-out home so interesting. There’s a brick area (a nod to the white brick cottage they started with) – with some of the bricks laid slightly proud of others, to add a textured dimension to the double-height wall of the kids’ area. Then there’s external cedar cladding and Colorsteel(R) cladding in other parts of the property..

Re-using what’s gone before

The couple reused some of the materials from the original two bedroom home at 60 Parkhill Road. Kauri timber panels from the original home were repurposed by a wood carver in the Coromandel. Salvaged tawa floorboards from the former house can be found in the mudroom and internal staircase wall framing the bay window in the primary bedroom, bringing a touch of history and character to these spaces, says Hollie. 

She was firm that there were aspects about the original house she wanted to keep. Spending considerable amounts of time at the kitchen sink as a mum of three, she enjoyed the daily view from the original house and liked seeing the sunrise over Beachlands and out to Mellons Bay, so she replicated that in the new home.

Although the house is a generous 332 sq m, including the 70 sq m carport and the couple’s brief to the architect was to build a space no more or less than they would use well. They use every part of the house, says Hollie, who says they took the architect’s concept but then went off in a different direction. 

The main entry of the home leads guests upstairs to a front patio and then guides them into the public spaces of the house. For the family, meanwhile, their daily entry is through a keyless door in the three car internal access carport and then via a mudroom and walkthrough laundry, so mess doesn’t get trailed through the public spaces. 

“You only have to keep one part of the house tidy,” laughs Hollie.

The home’s main living areas have a marae whare style ceiling, made of cedar, and there’s also a mid-century modernist style to the house, says the vendor.

“I wanted low maintenance, I’m not a fussy mum. Materials include plywood, concrete, materials that were durable. Even the gardens are all native, with an overgrown bush vibe,” says Hollie.

To have the whole house on one level makes life really easy, she adds. Below the house there’s lots of storage and shelving, and the couple converted one of the rooms at the back from a music room to a gym. “It’s grown as the kids have grown,” says Hollie.

The swimming pool was only finished this year. The 4 m wide by 11 m long salt water pool is very low maintenance, says Hollie. The outdoor living space was a priority for Ross, adds Hollie. He wanted a grassy outlook from the main areas. The back lawn is fenced so the kids can kick a ball around.

The pool house or cottage is a minor dwelling and was designed as a smaller version of the most used spaces at Hollie's parents' former home with kitchen, living room, bathroom, and laundry. They came to live with the family for a while before moving out of Auckland. The pool house/cottage could be a home office, a gym or guest suite, suggests Bayleys Howick agent Angela Rudling.

Won’t be moving far….

The McConnells plan to stay in the area for their next project. Howick is where Hollie grew up and Ross, not far away in Pukekohe. Hollie started the walking school bus at Mellons Bay Primary when her boys were there, with a walkway at the end of the street leading to the school. 

The Parkhill Road home is in the popular Macleans College and Howick Intermediate school zones and Howick village is a five minute walk away, says Hollie. The village is known for the Monterey cinema, lots of cool op shops and restaurants.

The high end home, goes up for auction with Bayleys Howick on 28 November unless sold prior.


Gill South
Gill South