Evolution of Home

Roger Richardson Roger Richardson

“Wow!” is my first thought at seeing Patrick and Randy’s home again for the first time in 11 years.

It’s changed incredibly.

There’s a tower, decks and a triple garage, but what steals the show is the landscaping that ties it all together. Plantings provide colour, privacy and shelter, while highlighting and framing the structure and incredible sea views. 

Built 12 years ago as a New Zealand summer hiatus from their hectic London lifestyle, the two-bedroomed bach has grown into a magnificent three-bedroom home with oodles of living space, both outside and in. 

Since shifting back home at the end of 2022, the couple have had time to reflect on how they use the spaces and indulge in more ideas to make their home even better.

Situated in a ‘bowl’ at the base of a hill, the house is naturally sheltered from winds coming from the east, south and west. The bush adds further protection.

“When we bought the land, we noticed the cows would come down here and rest in the middle of winter, so that was a good indication that it was pretty sheltered,” says Patrick.

In the ensuing years all the little nursery plants they planted have grown to give the property loads of privacy and shelter.

One planting error Patrick recalls was mistakenly putting in Jumbo Flaxes in front of the house, instead of regular ones. A couple of years later they realised they were having to look over the plants to the beach view because the flaxes had grown so much.

“So we cleared the whole lot out and started again.” The flaxes were replanted into the hillside sheltering the house and lining the driveway. “We don’t throw plants away … we re-use them.”

“When my mum passed (about 5 years ago), my sister had loads of pot plants from my mum.

We brought them here, these lovely money-tree plants, and Randy planted these beautiful yellow plants around them … and then they all turned yellow, which I’d never seen before.

“And now we have this most divine garden … in winter this is bright yellow.”

They also planted screes and screes of osteospermum to create a seaside meadow.

“All our friends were laughing at us because we put all these little flowering plants in here, and now look what we’ve got! We get butterflies and bees (as well as copious birds) — it’s just gorgeous.”

The garden flows down the slope towards the sea, and the deliberately chosen low growth maintains the sea views from the house.

The outdoor and indoor areas blend seamlessly. 

“The house was really supposed to be just a roof, because when you open all these big doors all you have is the roof.

“We didn’t build it for anyone else but ourselves, so you’ll notice the spaces aren’t very big. This house was really just about us, and a few intimate friends.”

Of course, ‘a few intimate friends’ can grow to 10 or 12 people for a dinner party and there was nowhere to retire to after dinner as the lounge simply wasn’t big enough.

So the idea was hatched to cover the internal courtyard in order to add more living space, whatever the weather.

Featuring glass and several large beams the new roof effectively keeps out the weather, but not the light. The height of it and the subtle design mean you don’t even notice the roof once you’re in the courtyard, or even really see it when you’re in the house.

A statement stone fireplace offers a focal point as well as heat.

“The fireplace has given the space gravitas,” says Patrick.

Now almost completely enclosed on two sides with lush native bush, the other two sides of the courtyard are the living areas of the house, connected with sliding doors that open up completely so that the deck becomes part of the living space. 

The incredible seascape is maintained with views right through the house.

“Now we have dinner and then we all go out there and have a beautiful evening with the fire roaring, that will often go to 1 or 2 in the morning.”

The kitchen has been titivated to feature high-gloss, car spray-painted joinery, which replaces the vertical stainless-steel sections. Twelve years is long enough to put up with constant finger marks.

“When the house was first designed we wanted bach living, where everything was open,” Patrick says. “Now we’re living here permanently, I hate it, I want it all gone.”

The kitchen island is also being “massaged” as Patrick calls it.

“We had huge shelves under here, but you could never get at them. So what we’ve done is replace them with ‘airport trolleys’. When we have big events, we roll them out and they become the outdoor bar.”

Located off the far end of the main living area, the master suite can be completely shut off to maintain complete privacy.

With stunning views of the beach and sea, a spa pool has been added to the deck on one side of the room, while the bed faces the coastline up to Paritutu.

“We’ve done little tricks like this,” Patrick demonstrates. “We’ve pulled the bed away from the wall so that we can put storage behind the bed. We’ve got our charging stations back here, my ironing board because I love to iron right there in the view. In fact sometimes I use an extension cord and iron out there (on the deck). We were going to put a wall here originally and create a bit of a dressing space and our friend came out and said ‘No no no, you should just raise the headboard,’ so we did. It completely screens the area, lets the light in back here and retains the view from this area. It also pushes our bed more out into where the views are. I think that’s a really clever way of using the space. So many houses, especially here in New Plymouth, everyone’s about pushing things to the wall.”

Back out into the main living area, the original garage has been converted into a television lounge. Deep rich colours invite you into this welcoming and cosy room. The door to the tower is concealed in the far wall.

“We wanted the room to feel complete, rather than a hallway between the tower and the house, hence why there’s no doorway.”

There’s another fireplace, books, awards, a harp (Patrick plays that too), sound system, and a TV.

“The other thing I love is art curation (a concept he got from some friends). Instead of having a picture on the wall, I like it when there’s an eclectic group of pictures. So that’s what we’ve done here.”

Then it’s into the Tower, which is actually a separate structure to the house, though the two are joined. This means the two areas are sound-proofed from each other.

So why a Tower?

“Well I think the simple thing is ‘why not?’” Patrick replies. “It’s a fantasy isn’t it? Every kid loves a tower. We knew we needed extra bedrooms and we didn’t want to go outwards … so vertical living was perfect and it makes the most of the view.”

There’s another ‘secret door’ from the bottom of the staircase that leads to the tower, which opens to Patrick’s work studio.

“We’re embracing technology,” Patrick states as we look inside. 

He does his own filming, voiceovers and editing. He also uses AI models to show his hair techniques.

“So rather than mannequins you have live-looking models. It means I can work in my little studio here in Tapuae and next minute I can send that to Paris, Rome, London and the beauty magazines go ‘thank you very much,’ job done.”

Up the stairs are a third bedroom, a powder room and the Tower Room at the very top, which Randy uses as his office. An amateur woodworker, Randy plans to build some bookcases for the corners of the room and a built-in desk area.

With plate glass windows on three sides and a solid wall facing the hill to the south (adorned with a commissioned Kevin Betteridge painting of the mountain), the room is always warm, and is ventilated with wooden louvres.

“We keep on saying this,” says Patrick, “it’s not a big house but each space is perfectly considered.

“The house is a very social and fluid space … it seems to just adapt to the number of people here.”

So is it finished?

Well of course not … evolution is a constant thing.

Already the pair have plans to build on top of the triple garage … a new studio for Patrick and a fourth bedroom and bathroom. There will be a bridge going out to the garden from the bedroom and the work is due to start in January.

In the garage they are just completing a floor to ceiling wardrobe across the entire back wall to accommodate hundreds of beautiful handmade dresses that Patrick has kept as souvenirs from his career. 

“I had over 30 years’ worth of gowns (for his shows) and I gave away 85% and kept just a few (around 200) … that were special to me. There’s even necklaces that were made to go with some of the dresses.”

One can only imagine how this home will have evolved after another twelve years.

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