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Traditional Cottage in New Zealand Expanded into Modern Box House

A heritage worker’s small cottage in Auckland, New Zealand was expanded by BOX Living with the addition of a two storey box-shaped extension at the back. The geometrical “box” is in complete contrast to the homes of the neighbourhood but the use of a matte black façade with gloss black trim allows the home to blend in with the shadows and not impose on the more traditional look of the surrounding homes. The original small cottage located in front of the extension holds the bedrooms and bathrooms while the two storey box contains the living, dining and kitchen areas as well as a mezzanine on the second level that looks down to the living spaces and out to the view.

The living area of the home opens up to the large back yard via a large sliding glass door. The complete back of the home is covered in large expanses of glass to allow as much natural light as possible to flood the interior spaces while at the same time allowing views out to the garden.
One section of the lower level is not covered in glass and offers the perfect place to highlight a large piece of art. The painting of choice uses a palette of greens that blends with the views outside and almost makes the canvas appear as though it was a window as well.
The side of the home has large expanses of glass as well allowing the dining area to enjoy a view out to the side deck. Here, additional sliding glass doors allow access to the outdoor dining area. The dining table and chairs, as well as the tray table in the living area, continue the theme of matte black while the chairs outside punch it up with a banana yellow powder coating.
The living area repeats the yellow tones of the deck chairs with the use of brass pendants over the seating area and amber upholstery on parts of the sectional.
Next to the living and dining areas is the kitchen. Both the galley wall and the peninsula are clad in warm wood and the side of the galley wall continues the warm wood all the way up to the ceiling on the second level. Seen through the tempered glass railing a modular bookshelf with a black framework and wood plank shelving continues the colour and material scheme used on the main level.
The kitchen is located under a dropped ceiling that is the floor of the mezzanine above. Just a few feet away from the sectional in the living area, the amber tones in the upholstery create a nice transition to the warm tones of the wood. The large tufting on the couch creates a dynamic texture that plays off of the linear wood cladding used on the front of the peninsula.
Although the kitchen does not have a bar overhang on the peninsula, the 3 bar stools that are tucked up to it have plenty of room as the furniture arrangement allows for a passageway between the kitchen and dining area for access to the mezzanine’s stairwell.
The stairwell is narrow and the lines are kept clean and simple.
At the top of the stairs is the front entry way to the original cottage. A hallway doubles back to the mezzanine area.
Its hard to believe this tiny cottage enters into a home that morphs via a stairwell or hallway into a large and contemporary living space.
Once inside the home the hallway leads you to the mezzanine and the tempered glass rail system immediately exposes the view out the back through the wall of glass. The stairwell right next to the hall leads you down to the new living area.
The brass pendants over the sectional down below create an interesting graphic detail to the mezzanine level.
The mezzanine is the family area and a soft grey seating area faces towards the modular shelving unit which houses the TV. It’s hard to imagine watching TV with that view just off to the side!
The views from the mezzanine include the side deck through the windows below and it is easy to keep in touch with what is happening outside from this level.
This level is also the original part of the house and it is in this original section that the bedrooms and bathrooms are located. This bathroom has been completely updated with 3×12″ tiles wrapping the room in a stacked pattern. The original location of the window still exists, but it has been upgraded to a more energy efficient model.
While the upper level is the main level of the original cottage, the lower two storey addition blends harmoniously with the overall floor plan by the creation of this mezzanine.
The new addition allows for a new and modern layout that can house the latest in kitchen appliances.
Photography by Emma-Jane Hetherington
BOX Living


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