Dorrington Architects

Winsomere Crescent

Shona McPherson


A renovation can lift a home's energy, breathe new life into a neglected or tired design and bring elements of functionality that older designs lack. 

New Zealand based practice, Dorrington Architects approach design from the perspective that the nature of your personal space greatly impacts upon your quality of life, and as such should be treated with the utmost care. 

"Architecture is about balancing the aesthetics and function, brief and budget, clients and site. It's the pursuit of enriching life through a better built environment," founder and chief architect Tim Dorrington says.

Dorrington Architects were commissioned to renovate a Winsomere Crescent brick bungalow in 2012. "The client believed strongly in a renovation rather than a new build as it didn't sit well with them to simply demolish, especially where there was a chance to use elements of this house in the new design," Tim Dorrington explains. 

The home presented a unique architectural puzzle of how to maintain the authenticity of the sturdy existing structure while extending the space. "This was to be a comfortable family home where the family can come together and equally find their own space ... whilst still bringing together the different elements of the site." 

The three main structures, including the existing brick blocks, cedar timber screened block and new zinc clad apex blocks were joined together with an additional space including the timber stairwell and hallway. 

The original brick work was stripped back and painted white, and the windows were extended to create better access to the waterfront views and to allow more light into the home. 


Retaining the more intricate details as well as the basement garage and bedroom blocks, Dorrington Architects incorporated the existing mosaic entry porch and the Art Deco bathroom with contemporary exterior structures which both contrasted and complimented the new additions. 

"The idea of contrasting new forms that sit slightly apart from the existing house was to let the 3 main structures read as an overall composition, and to play off each other," Tim explains. 

"The existing elements read stronger when contrasted to new materials and elements, and vice versa." 

Strong exteriors feature, irregular geometric floor to ceiling windows, and timber work that flows inside to out creates a natural connection between the interior and exterior. Spacious kitchen and living areas incorporate Retro details while the hanging lights in combination with the white and stainless steel decor are ultra modern. 

New coloured glass windows were added to establish the connection between the old and new, literally positioned between the existing and new elements of the property they create a multi coloured light gallery as you walk through the transition area. 

"The space has a calm feeling, provided by a rich material palette, as well as big open views and lights," Tim says.

Asymmetry between the levels of the home are an amalgam of the original and new architecture which work to make this home unique. Recognising the potential of preserving the treasured aspects of the old, Dorrington studios have demonstrated the versatility of design solutions and the value in connecting vintage and contemporary styles.

mildred issue