Photography: Simon Devitt
Taking an old brick and tile structure on the side of a steep hill and transforming it into a well loved family home. Our clients say it better than us…
“Jonathan Smith of Matter Architects was the architect for the rebuild of our home in Castor Bay. He came highly recommended by friends of ours. When we first met him it was clear that he was an architect, because he was slightly disheveled, very cool in a gentle sort of way, and knew how to use words like “negative rebate”. He listened very carefully to what we wanted, and then went and sat in a tree on Kennedy Point for a while to think about it all. We were so taken by him that this seemed charming rather than odd. He didn’t charge us for the time in the tree, which was a bonus.
Our brief was all over the place: something a bit bachy, a bit modern, a lot environmental (but not if it cost much), very styley (but not if it cost too much), not ostentatious (”that’s so not us…”), not Tuscan or Tudor, and that would continue to work well as our kids get older, plus specific numbers of bedrooms, bathrooms and showers. Jon carefully synthesised all of that into a design that we loved from the outset. We felt that the home would look great, and would meet all our needs. Jon also did a great job of ensuring that it met all of the relevant regulatory requirements.
Jon then helped us to find a builder, giving sensible advice throughout. A notable aspect of this process was the extent to which the builders praised the detail and precision of Jon’s drawings, plans and specifications.
Because of the faith we have in him, we asked Jon to be the architect to the contract, supervising claims and progress. He fulfilled that role with aplomb too, keeping us fully apprised of what was going on, dealing with the odd inevitable issue, and keeping everyone pointing in the right direction.
It was a nine month build. It would be fair to say that we were high maintenance at times. There are probably Austin Allegros built on Friday afternoons that are less so. But Jon stayed calm, patient and helpful throughout.
We are absolutely thrilled with the house as finished. It’s way cooler than we are, and it works perfectly for our family. Jon hit all of the points in our brief, and also added in some fabulous extra bits that we would never have thought of, but now love. We would warmly recommend Jon, and have already done so. We would also be happy to add to this reference on the phone or in person if that would assist.
Erica Whineray Kelly & Mark Kelly
Contractor: Living Structures