Martinborough House

This long narrow house plan, for a recently retired local farming couple, is situated within the Martinborough Estate residential development bordered by established trees and directly adjacent the fairways of the Martinborough Golf Club. The large, flat, open and accessible Wairarapa site is the ideal context for an architect to create a special home.

The clients brief was to create a home that could accommodate visiting grandchildren and guests, with connected outdoor living that was sheltered by the significant prevailing winds as well as connecting to the park-like aspect and golf course beyond.


Holmes Construction


LGE Consulting


Holmes Architecture


Renall’s Joinery


Mike Holmes

The building is four bedrooms, open plan mezzanine, open plan living/dining/kitchen, study, three bathrooms and double garage + workshop/laundry – organised around four wings connected with flat roofs. With such an expansive site the initial challenge was to organise the programme so that the building form did not appear as an isolated mass within the landscape. In this case the separate wings allow the form to graduate into the site with pergolas and decks further blurring the edge between building and wide-open spaces beyond.

With a fortunate north facing aspect the spaces have been spread along a long east-west axis with the large central volume accommodating the living areas and acting as a central hub, where the adjoining spaces (study, mezzanine, outdoor living) can be opened or closed off as required. The extended soffit over the northern veranda is supported with a large structural pergola and was modelled precisely to allow good thermal gain during the winter months while effectively shading the interior during the summer.

Stylistically the building is a modern take on a NZ barn style house, with traditional gabled forms referencing the client’s previous farmhouse, updated with detailing such as the structural pergola, exterior screens, monochrome colour scheme and large areas of north-facing glass. This theme is carried through to the interior where clean white joinery is offset with timber reclaimed from the client’s old shearing shed.

A central component to the brief was a useful outdoor living space as well as areas to catch the sun during the day while maintaining a comfortable interior temperature. With a prevailing north-west wind the solution was to continue the main living room gable to the east and treat the outdoor living as a continuation of the interior living room. With the ability to open the expansive glazing the clients have found this an ideal solution.

He nailed it perfectly for our family.

Mike understood our brief perfectly—to create a home with open plan living -with a dedicated outside BBQ and entertaining area. A place for our grandchildren to sleep dormitory style- and most importantly, site the house to the views and sun. He nailed it perfectly for our family.

– Lachie & Bindy McLeod


Regional Winner: Category 3, Residential 300m2 +