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8 February 2017

Organic Modernism

Surrounded by some of her favourite New Zealand homes, Green Bay provides the ideal live-work balance for architect Megan Edwards.


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Award-winning architect Megan Edwards runs her bespoke architectural practice out of a converted ground-floor room under the lounge of her original 1950s modernist home in Green Bay.

“Our house was built in 1953, and we still have the original plans,” she says, pulling them out and laying them out on the table. “The T-shaped floor plan works very well as a family home, so we haven’t had to change too much from the original. Everything was in the right place and was in proportion – it could quite easily be a new home,” she adds.

Megan says the modernist bones of the house just needed a little help. Looking at the original photographs of the house, the most obvious alteration from the front is at the end of the bedroom wing, where she has put in a floor-to-ceiling picture window in the master bedroom.

“On the seaward side, we opened up the dining room to a new large deck,” explains, Megan. “Although the original house had views out to the harbour, there was no exterior access. We also took a half-wall out of the kitchen, which gave us more living space and added the 50’s inspired screen which shields the kitchen from view when you come in the front door.”

Funnily enough, simply painting the house has made the biggest visual difference. “When we got here, the last owners had painted the house Miami colours: blue (top) and orange (bottom), representing sky and land. Lightening the base and darkening the top has had quite an impact streamlining the look of the house.

As a fan of modernist architecture, Megan draws much of her inspiration from this era, and you can certainly see cues from this movement in many of the new homes and renovations she has designed.

She describes a new pavilion house she is working on as ‘organic modernism’ – a very rational modernist plan, but enlivened with some hand-made random textured elements, like hand blown lights and built-in furniture and storage.

The practice offers a personal service – I wouldn’t say we are slick. However, everything is considered,” says, Megan. “I respond to people, as well as their homes and sites, and the fact that I am a mother and I have a family means I can relate well to how a house works… without overplaying the female bit,” she laughs.

Megan says she and her family love being near the West Coast – having easy access to the beaches and some great walking tracks. Closer to home there’s also a great coastal walk around Blockhouse Bay.

“Now that Lopdell House – Te Uru Gallery – has been renovated and there’s a new café and the amazing gallery and theatre, it’s given the village a boost,” she says. Her favourite hangouts are Vevo Foodstore in Titirangi, and The Refreshment Room, up on Scenic Drive. And for an architectural treat, check out two of Megan’s favourite houses – the Brake House and the Haresnape House.

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