Horse &Cart House

A long narrow back section on Greytown’s main road with established residential development to all four boundaries, including the original Mayor’s cottage circa 1860’s to the north.

Greytown is considered New Zealand’s oldest planned inland town and the original six Greytown pioneers reputedly camped on the site for a few days in 1854 before taking up their balloted town acres. As such the site is zoned within the districts Heritage Character Zone. One hundred and sixty years later a young family intended to build a contemporary three-bedroom home on a modest budget on the subdivided section, while remaining sensitive to the local heritage and vernacular of this historic area.


Holmes Architecture

Construction :

Neil Algie

Structural :

Don Thomson


Pete’s Joinery


Andre Vroon

The heritage zoning of the site required a considered approach to any proposed development and as such the scheme has examined the utilitarian history of the area including the original coaching stables at Cobblestones Museum only a few hundred meters to the West. Being a subdivision of the original historic Mayor’s cottage it was thought appropriate to reference the vernacular stables of the Cobb & Co era mail and passenger service.

These stable buildings were generally simple timber clad mono pitched designs with an open face elevation requiring knee bracing at the supports. This evocative form has been reinterpreted here as a north-facing brise soleil which has been modelled to allow the low winter solstice sun to penetrate the living spaces while mitigating solar gain in the summer months. Vertical board and batten cladding provides a counterpoint to the horizontal cedar detailing, while referencing vernacular cladding methods.

The layout responds to the available building platform, which is flat but narrow, following a logical progression from arrival to a private retreat, through to the open-plan living spaces via a light-filled corridor connected to the covered outdoor living spaces beyond.

The interiors are simple and refined with polished concrete, white plaster walls, ply ceilings, ply/laminate/tile kitchen and timber trim offset with the clients eclectic mid-century furnishings.

The result is a simple architectural response elevated through the sensitive application of traditional construction techniques in response to the rich history of the site while establishing a contemporary family home with a unique sense of identity and heritage.