Villa Alteration in Mt Eden

With a bit of careful space planning from Smith + Scully, and a strong vision from our clients, this Mt Eden villa underwent a true transformation.

Originally the villa felt dark, cold, and crowded, and needed a good freshening up. The brief included modernisation, a new walk in robe and ensuite off the master bedroom, and a new family bathroom, as well as a deck extension and new French doors off the master bedroom. It was a challenge working within limited space, and planning was down to the millimetre!

Through thoughtful reconfiguration, and strategic use of openings to bring in light, the villa now feels much more bright and spacious. We were blown away with these clients’ attention to detail, and the great lengths they went to to incorporate special character features and pieces, such as the house’s original chandeliers. Their artistic tendencies become apparent through confident layering of bright colours, rich textures, beautiful artworks, and carefully selected furniture.

The resulting home is truly special, in no small part thanks to the team of artisan builders and plasterers, who took great care and pride in their work. This project is a successful example of bringing together old and new; our clients can now enjoy all the comforts of modern life, yet their home is packed full of charm and historic character.

Accessible Alterations and Additions in Orakei, Auckland

Our client approached us initially to extend his cottage in Orakei.
A real cutie, the house already had lovely spatial qualities and an appealing sense of character. It was just too small to comfortably house the client’s now-teenage family.

It was during the design stage of this project that our client received a diagnosis that would change his life; making mobility and accessibility essential factors that would need to be somehow incorporated for him to continue living at home.

Carolyn and Hilary both have a special interest and experience in designing for accessibility and mobility needs, and relished the challenge to meet the required changes to the brief and budget. Key to this revised brief was to achieve a family home that, in spite of all its accessibility requirements, would be a stylish example of what a modest fully accessible home might look like.

The resulting design provides the addition of a new wing which houses a spacious bedroom, full wet-room and a single garage with ramped internal access. Internal walls of the existing smaller bedrooms have been removed to create a new light and airy north-facing living room at the heart of the home. This living room opens fully onto a generous deck; all with flush thresholds, creating easy flow outside to the sunny garden.The existing bathrooms have been re-configured and modernised, also with improved accessibility at their core.

An additional challenge for Smith+Scully, was to design the alterations so that our client could remain living in his house whilst the additions were being built. It took a special builder to achieve this, and he did! Dan Power and his team built, and fully fitted-out the new wing with accessible bedroom, bathroom and garage, before he broke through into the existing cottage to open up the living space and rebuild the existing bathrooms. Quite a challenge in itself, let alone with a client with deteriorating health, and a country going into it’s first Covid lock-down at the beginning of the build!

It was such an honor to be a part of the team to work with this client who bravely turned a devastating diagnosis into an opportunity to grow. Throughout, he was deeply involved in the design process and design decision-making in order to achieve a design dream he had long held. The beautiful deep greens and blues of the wall and floor finishes, all selected to enhance the feeling of inhabiting the places he loves.

New House in Greenhithe

This new house project transformed a difficult native-bush-clad site into a charming and special home amongst the trees.

Located in a large, thickly forested and sloping site in Kereru Reserve, from the beginning, this site posed some serious design challenges. The beautiful and well-established native bush was protected by council and to build anywhere on this site required significant liaison with arborists to ensure minimal impact to the flora and fauna, which included many large, ancient Puriri and Kauri. One Puriri in particular reminded our client of a tree from an old children’s book; ‘the Faraway Tree” and so the project was henceforth called “the Faraway House’  and the end result was something truly special. The house responds to its dense natural environment, by sitting on stilts, staying slender in form and stepping around several significant trees, creating a feeling of peaceful connection with nature and surprising openness and light.

On the main floor are an open plan kitchen and generous living/dining area, as well as three bedrooms (one with ensuite) and a third bathroom. The numerous decks surrounding the living areas extend the useful space and give the house a fun ‘treehouse’ vibe. Generous, carefully placed glazing and wide openable spans of bifold doors reinforce the strong connection to the outdoors. The roomy master wing is tucked away privately upstairs, enjoying prime position floating amongst the tree-tops.

This lovely house, which was completed in 2006, and pleasingly remains a stylish, contemporary and unique design.


“From the first time we made contact I have felt that we had chosen the right firm to design our house. Our site was a very difficult one, with several issues surrounding the potential design. Your ideas and subsequent final design were outstanding. At all times I felt that you and your staff were professional, yet very easy to approach. I felt able to contribute my ideas and suggestions.

So with our house almost finished I would like to thank you for your outstanding professionalism and fantastic design ideas that have turned the difficult bush clad site into a stunning home for my family.”

Community Housing

We have been very privileged to work with the Bays Community Housing Trust to develop an experimental, low cost housing type on the North Shore. Essentially offering “flatting for the elderly”, this project aims to provide the community with an alternative living solution for the elderly demographic. Two houses of this type have recently been completed as examples of this housing typology.



“The Bays Community Housing Trust built two houses in Northcote for older women designed by Smith and Scully Architects. This was a very smooth partnership with Hilary being sensitive and responsive to the special needs of these houses. The result is two lovely houses and ten very happy women living together.”

Herne Bay Bungalow Alteration & Extension

Our client’s passion for ‘traditional meets contemporary’ style drove the transformation of this previously 70’s-altered Herne Bay bungalow into a light, spacious home. The internal planning was reconfigured, kitchen extended and modernised, and a new sleep-out and pool now sit comfortably amongst beautiful landscaping.

Right from the start our client fell in love with the inherent style and character of her transitional bungalow and when the time came, she had a very clear brief for us regarding her aspirations for the alterations and additions to her home.

The builder knew our client well, and had a great deal of experience in bungalows and villa alterations. Liaising early on with him was key to a pleasing result.

There were several pragmatic hurdles for us to leap along the way, dealing with inner city suburb drainage and soakage issues, existing structural issues, and the recent Manu Whenua designations from the Unitary Plan meant documentation and consent processes took their time! However we made it through the mire, and this really is a lovely example of a client’s clarity and passion for her home shining through.



“Working with Smith & Scully on our extensive house renovations was a very enjoyable process. Most importantly, Carolyn Smith really listened to the ideas I had and incorporated those into the design very well, whilst at the same time providing her own helpful insights into what might (and might not) work in the design. Carolyn has a real flair in her architectural design but also I found Smith & Scully very sympathetic to the heritage design we wanted to preserve and very helpful on the practical front.”

New House in Spinnaker Bay

A recently completed Smith + Scully residential project stands out from the crowd in a developing subdivision at Spinnaker Bay, Beachlands. This house makes a statement with its warm textural tones, modern lines and bold street appeal.

The design had to provide a sophisticated solution to match our “empty-nester” clients’ lifestyle. This couple needed a comfortable, stylish home which was practical for just the two of them, with the adaptability for accommodating their adult children and grandchildren when they come to visit. The theme of flexibility and providing different options is emphasised throughout the planning of this house.

Large double-height volumes in the entrance and open plan kitchen/living give a light, airy spaciousness to the interior. The mezzanine style of the upstairs floor imbues a sense of connectedness and cohesiveness throughout this home. These open spaces contrast against more enclosed, cosy areas of retreat, such as the downstairs bedrooms and ensuites, and the separate lounge.

We designed the outdoor courtyards to provide sunny outdoor spaces for different times of the day, as well as shelter from different wind directions. One particular challenge for this project was working with subdivision rules for this corner site. With no fences and no high trees permitted, the design had to both maintain the owners’ privacy and make the most of the beautiful sea and reserve views, while adhering to subdivision rules.


“We have been privileged to work with Carolyn, Hilary and the team from Smith+Scully on a number of projects and have found their approach to high-end residential design to fit exceptionally well with our desire to build quality individual homes. They have a passion to design homes that fit their clients’ needs while adding a distinctive design flare that you engage an architect for. As a builder I have found them to be easy to work with, thorough and professional, with a good understanding of how their plans translate through to the onsite build. I am looking forward to our next project together.” (Keith Dumper, Director, KD Construction)

Bungalow Renovation and Extension in Sandringham

In a recent alteration and addition, Architecture Smith + Scully transformed a small bungalow into a light, spacious family home with character. The renovated design provides easy and adaptable living options suitable for modern family life.

The reconfigured bungalow now has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a small study, and a new extension containing an open plan kitchen/living/dining space. We have modernised and maximised the potential of this bungalow, while carefully restoring and reinstating heritage character features such as the original ceiling roses in the bedrooms.

The south-facing extension employs stylish and discreet strategies for introducing natural light into the space, including clerestory windows, generous sliding doors, and a skylight, without compromising the owners’ privacy. The doors opening onto the flush deck provide a generous indoor/outdoor flow. A clever work station hidden behind warm timber doors allows the living room to switch from a practical study area, to a sleek entertaining space. The warm timber of the cabinetry contrast against the glossy black splashback, for a welcoming yet modern aesthetic.

This renovation is a successful example of respecting the heritage character of an existing house while updating it to fulfil its potential as a stylish, functional and contemporary home.



“The moment we first walked into our Smith and Scully home we fell in love. The original bungalow was treated with respect in the renovation, and the extension flows seamlessly to provide a contemporary space that works brilliantly for our busy family. The layout has been well-considered and small details make it a pleasure to live in our house. Family life, entertaining, storage, warmth and comfort have all been taken into account in the design of our home and they’ve all been executed with a clean aesthetic that has provided a great base for us to personalise and turn it from a house to a home.

Makana Boutique Chocolate Factory & Café, Kerikeri

A project that Architecture Smith + Scully completed in 2016 is the Makana Boutique Chocolate Factory and Chocolate Café in Kerikeri. The project began with an existing Kerikeri boutique business which was already a very popular destination for both tourists and locals alike. The building was tired and outdated and in need of refreshing and expansion.

Our client came to us with a desire to increase the capacity of the chocolate factory and to create a stand-out building for a new chocolate cafe. As lovers of fine chocolate we were keen to assist!

Now complete, the new design introduces a curved, flowing form to both the existing and the new parts of the building. It provides a more modern, attractive frontage, and imbues the building with the quality and character of the boutique chocolates that are made and sold here.

In the new Chocolate Café, the simple rectangular plan has been enhanced with the curved roof form lifting skyward. This allows abundant natural light into the café while providing visual balance with the existing building. The design incorporates a large curved verandah opening on to a luscious landscaped garden for alfresco dining.

From the main highway as one approaches Kerikeri township, the lovely new Makana Café and Chocolate Shop can be seen filtering through the beautiful trees along the street frontage. Long overdue, Kerikeri can now offer the tourist and local alike an elegant destination for social gatherings and gastronomic delights in the sub-tropical environment of Northland.

The Garden House in Point Chevalier

Nestled into a newly sub-divided inner-city suburban site, this thoughtful new house has been designed for clients both passionate about gardening.

The process of designing this new home involved navigating tight council restrictions and the challenge of an overland flow path running across the site. The resulting plan cleverly maximises the site’s full potential, bringing a sense of spaciousness, generosity, and a flowing connection with nature; all whilst keeping a close eye on the interior privacy of the more personal spaces.

The house weaves its way around a set of small courtyards designed to capture morning, midday and afternoon sun. The open plan kitchen/living area opens right up to a deck at the rear of the property, its northern aspect ensuring all-day sunshine. An elevated boardwalk connects down one the side of the house. This combined with the vibrant landscaping gives the gardens a lush, tropical feeling. Generous glazing and connections to the surrounding garden enhance the flow between indoors and outdoors.

Upon entering, the occupant is drawn through the space by following the sunlight which spills into the stairwell via the western courtyard’s double-height glazing. Beyond the stairwell the living pavilion opens out to reveal a surprisingly generous, light-filled space with a fabulous kitchen and scullery. Upstairs, a lovely master bedroom suite with a private sitting room steals glimpses out to sea. The house also features three further double bedrooms, a teenage room, and a highly temperature-controlled wine cellar.

Clad in a combination of vertical cedar and board & battens, this new home cuts an elegant figure in what is becoming a very stylish Auckland suburb.



“We have found the team at Architecture Smith and Scully easy to deal with and they have understood our design brief, with the house packed with good design that makes living very comfortable with an element of luxury!

We love that they have designed the windows so that we catch glimpses of the garden as we move around the house and that when we are outside, even though we are surrounded by houses, no one looks in at us and it feels very private.

The house and garden complement each other perfectly!”

Mellons Bay New House

This new family house has been designed with ease of daily living in mind.

The site slopes down from the north to the south and so the challenge was to provide an easily navigated path through from the lower entry level, up and through the house to the sunny living spaces at the rear of the site.

Strong honed concrete block walls and clear-storey light have been used as a directional devices. Feature stack-bonded walls draw one in and lead the eye up and through the house towards the light and openness of the living areas. The journey is completed with two strong, concrete block piers which support the louvered roof over the outdoor dining area. A garden seat terminates the axis.

A second living space associated with the lower level bedrooms has been provided to accommodate teenage activities with some acoustic separation. The ability to work from home without interruption of family living has also been accommodated in this design.


“We began our design journey with Carolyn asking us to give her a few words to describe the kind of house we hoped for. We started with ‘welcoming and stylish’ for the exterior and ‘light, airy and spacious’ for the interior. From this simple start, Carolyn was able to envisage just what we wanted and we now have a house that suits us in every way.  We would change absolutely nothing about our layout; it just works so well.

Carolyn was also able to create the special character we were after with internal honed concrete block walls and Tasmanian oak flooring.  We were delighted with her clever shelving and cupboard design in the lounge to display our favourite ornaments – this was a feature that helped turn a house into a home. Carolyn’s inspired bathroom designs were also appreciated – each carried a theme that was enhanced by gorgeous splashback and tile colour changes. Thank you Carolyn, we could not be happier with our home.”