Monday, 18 January 2016

Messervy House For Sale

Matt and Kate Arnold discovered the Messervy House whilst on a walk down a quiet cul-de-sac in their hometown of Christchurch. After talking to it's owner, they learnt that it had been designed for her family in 1964 by architect Allan Mitchener, and she'd lived happily in it ever since. Matt and Kate kept in touch with Biddy Messervy, and when the time came for her to move out, they bought the house off her.




As only the second owners, Matt and Kate spent last year restoring Messervy House back to her former glory. They painted inside and out in the original colours, replaced the cork flooring and cracked windows, had new linen curtains made, re-wallpapered, and replaced the kitchen benchtop. Everything was carried out with the intention of maintaining the original design of the house, and using the original materials where possible.










Now that she's finished, Messervy House is on the market, and it's very important to Matt and Kate that her new owners are design enthusiasts who will fully appreciate her. Not only the highly imaginative design, but also the effort that has gone into her restoration. The house has a stream at the back with a footbridge connecting to Ilam fields and gardens, and it's a nice walk across the park to the University of Canterbury.









For more information about the house and how you can view and/or buy it, click here. I asked Matt a few questions about the restoration process, read on for his answers.










What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome?
Finding cork tiles. We hit a national shortage, nobody had them. Kate called almost every Bunnings in New Zealand and sniffed out anybody who had cork tiles stashed away. We scrounged together just enough by buying them in small packets from all over the country. We almost went down the route of parquet floors, but finally got the cork.




Tell me more about the wallpaper you used?
The house originally had wallpaper, which is slightly unusual for a modernist house, but it seemed to work. The old wallpaper was done for, it was torn, faded and stained, but finding a replacement was surprisingly difficult. Have you ever shopped for wallpaper? It's bewildering. We finally settled on a seagrass, but at the last minute we spotted the green arches designed by Claesson Koivisto Rune (architects we really admire) and we were away.




Do you have any advice to help people find the right architect or draftsman for their project?
Go straight to Michael O'Sullivan.




You've done such a fantastic job with this home, will you be taking on another restoration or renovation in the future?
I think we will. There are lots of these wonderful little houses in and around Christchurch designed in the 50s and 60s that are perhaps a little bit under-appreciated. And when they're made of concrete, like this one, they don't rot or leak, and all you need is some white paint and enthusiasm. I think with these types of places, the less you do the better, really.


photography: Sam Hartnett


I wish you luck Matt and Kate, and to all my readers... if you are interested in buying this beautiful home, or know someone who might be, get cracking! I have a feeling it may be snapped up quickly.

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It's lovely to hear from you. Thanks for your comment. Best wishes, Vic xxx

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