Sue Elliott remembers those early days of marriage when her job at a design store got her husband to college. Brian feels he may have repaid the favor. After all, the degree he was pursuing was architecture, which led to some wonderful homes being created for his family over the years. The latest is at a Feilding site in Manawatū that only the intrepid would consider a construction platform.
Brave Brian, director of the Stapleton Elliott Designgroup, has a bucket-load-and-means vision, but says it was Sue who planted the idea.
“Sue noticed the section not far from where we lived. It was a site that had been empty for so long, surrounded by houses that were around 35-40 years old. It hadn’t sold because it was so steep.
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They got it at a good price, which was good, because the geotechnical and structural engineering costs required were significant – more than that of the section. Half of the 200m² house is cantilevered over the sloping site, with the suspended concrete floor supported by steel struts. His earthquake, home is both an engineering and an architectural celebration.
The building project generated a lot of interest from neighbors, but Sue didn’t come around often. “I think I only visited the site twice. I like surprises and the surprises were really good. The color on the front of the house was a good example.
Brian and Sue are art lovers. “The front is almost like a painting itself,” says Brian, explaining the blocks of blue, red, yellow and white that were inspired by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian.
“We also have various pieces of art inside that reflect Mondrian’s approach. There’s the dining room table that I designed especially for the house, with its top consisting of a black inlay with three blue, red and yellow squares,” says Brian.
Sue wanted mirrored walls – one in the foyer, which looks like a small art gallery, where the mirror reflects the art, furniture and sculpture, and visually expands the feel of the space.
Another mirrored wall, in the open-plan main living area, reflects the vast rural view, visually lengthens the room and provides support for shelves used to display carvings and ornaments.
Another request was for clerestory windows. Brian says: “Sue’s request for lots of clerestory windows made the light inside the house a major feature. The light and views revealed upon entering the main salon are “uplifting,” he adds. Sue agrees: “I like the height in the spaces and I like the light coming in and bouncing off. It’s nice. And because we have such a broad and interesting view, it lends itself to it. »
Such aspects of their home will be enjoyed for many years to come because “its basic concept was to take us back to our older years,” says Brian. Hence the elevator that connects the three levels of the house.
Interior views are also important with the house designed to include plenty of wall space to hang artwork, pieces that were mostly accumulated during important annual holidays and celebrations.
“We usually buy a piece of art on our wedding anniversary,” says Brian. “It probably started in the mid-70s when we definitely didn’t have any money, but my grandparents left me enough to buy a painting.”
They do not follow any particular artist but favor New Zealand art and are strong supporters of emerging talent. There are works by Pat Hanly (Once Upon a Time Brian’s art tutor), Martin Pickering (the designer of the foyer’s hall table), Ian Chapman (Sue’s favorite), a very old piece of David Trubridge (a treasure box, not a light shade) and Naga Tsutsumi (who teaches locally).
According to Brian, one of their best pieces is an early work by Daniel Campion. Part of his Love Song series, it is an intricate work featuring a range of architectural lines and dotted with bullet holes.
An early family interest in pottery inspired Brian and Sue to love ceramics and sculpture in general. Some pieces were made by their children – graphic designer Justine and art and technology teacher Mason. Justine designed a special dated mosaic tile, built by Di Kemp, which adorns the entrance floor. The 1.8m long representation of Marilyn Monroe is also eye-catching. Once forming a double privacy screen in a store, it is now the front of a bed that folds away from the wall in the library.
The Elliott house also embraces technology. Ahead of its time, it includes features like sensors that trigger some of the clerestory windows to open and close to maintain a preset heat. These windows and the louvers above the outdoor seating area close automatically when it rains. The floor slab is heated with hot water, with a thermostat that recognizes when the desired heat has been reached, prompting the boiler to shut off.
Bells and whistles…and lots of visual fun.
Q&A with Brian and Sue Elliott
Best decoration tip: Use one color palette throughout the house. (Brian)
A privileged design detail: The upstairs bathroom has a shower with light blue and green mosaic tiles done to a design I put together. They slowly change color up and down like a waterfall. (Brian)
Favorite eating places: Beyond Coffee in the center of Feilding is great after a nice morning walk with friends. (Prosecute)
Our favorite restaurant is Neros in Palmerston North with its top quality food and exceptional service. (Brian)
Big wins: Find Darryl Judd at Guardian Tree Services, who came up with a great landscaping plan and then did all the planting. And, after many refusals, finding Tony McMellon of Window Cleaning Plus to clean our main windows, which are 9m above the ground. (Prosecute)
A courageous gesture in your construction project: Buying a section that hadn’t sold in 40 years because it was “too hard to build” was certainly like that. (Brian)