Sanctuary in the City
Sanctuary in the City
Set within the historic Parkdale Estate opposite Christchurch’s Elmwood Park, where the Cross Stream meets its confluence with an oxbow lake, Delamore – a luxurious home surrounded by tranquil gardens – blends traditional forms with contemporary finishes to create a beautiful home that is both inspired by and immersed in nature. Spaciously designed across a single level, Delamore has been carefully created to accommodate evolving needs over time.
The accessible layout comprises separate yet connected spaces designed to cater to the ever-changing requirements of the occupiers and to offer a lifetime of value. Parkdale, the original listed heritage property on the site, was built in 1921 for a successful Yorkshire businessman who migrated from England to New Zealand.
Sadly, the 2011 earthquake ravaged the house and gardens. Wayne Wright owned the vacant land and saw transforming the dilapidated site as an opportunity to join with accomplished developer Richmond Paynter, and award-winning interior designers Susie and Teassa Paynter of The Duchamp Collective, to develop the property.
“Unfortunately, during the earthquake everything was destroyed,” says Richmond. “The house had to be demolished and the gardens went to rack and ruin. We discovered the site and came up with the concept of three high-end homes built for the top end of the Christchurch market, meeting all the modern-day requirements.”
The Parkdale project is a collaboration between developer, designers, architect Tobin Smith from CoLab and builders from Takahe Construction. The concepts, interior and landscaping were all done by The Duchamp Collective, including the selection of all materials.
Delamore is accessed via a private timber bridge that crosses the stream – a short but transformative journey from city to serenity. The single-level home is a tranquil sanctuary enveloped by landscaped gardens. “Teassa proposed the concept design of the house and Tobin interpreted it beautifully,” says Susie. “She’s got a real edge to her design and pushes boundaries. The garden surrounding the house is clipped and timeless. The rest of the garden is very considered but far more free-flowing. In life and design you’ve got to have a yin and yang. You can’t have it all structured because that becomes very sterile.”
Comprising three pavilions, all with dramatic high-pitched ceilings, the design of the house pushes boundaries, creating spacious, open living areas flooded with natural light and with a continuous connection to nature and the outside. The main pavilion’s kitchen, living and dining area form a light, sleek and sophisticated entertaining expanse, with two exquisite marble benches. and high-end European appliances. The living pavilion has two dining areas, one leading out onto a private courtyard. There are two fireplaces – both focal points of the living and dining areas – while bold pendant lights add flair. The airy living pavilion also allows flexibility for both small and large gatherings, with clever design dividing the room into smaller, more intimate spaces for socialising, dining and relaxing by the fireside.
The second pavilion has a master bedroom suite and sitting room, wired for all media. The master bedroom suite includes a light and spacious bedroom, dressing room and large bathroom – the ultimate calm retreat. The natural stone creates a fresh space reminiscent of a luxury resort.
The third pavilion has two bedrooms, each with ensuite bathrooms and a front-facing garage, with electric car charging. There is also a private pool and separate pool house with bathroom and shower. Perfectly scaled landscaping creates privacy around the pavilions and pool.
“We worked round an existing swimming pool and built a pool house in a lovely little sleeve of land,” says Susie. “We’re thrilled. Thinking about it now, we wouldn’t change anything.”
The natural palette of materials evokes a relaxing vibe throughout the whole property. The natural materials and colours enhance the timeless style and add a soothing authenticity. “The imported French oak floor from a sustainable forest in the Loire Valley was something we were quite particular about,” says Richmond.
“We wanted to use a very authentic material. We’ve used multi-width boards, which is an old French method used in Parisienne apartments using all the widths of wood that come from cutting a round log.” The flooring therefore has a beautiful finish, traditional character and a sustainable integrity. “We normally work with natural materials,” says Susie. “We don’t like artificial products.”
There are many natural materials and techniques used that showcase the high level of consideration typical of The Duchamp Collective approach. Natural stone in ivory and dove-grey hues is used in the bathrooms, light-toned French oak adorns the floors, and marble benches create elegant, impressive functionality in the kitchen. Carefully chosen woven carpets made from wool sourced from a sustainable Hawke’s Bay sheep farm are used throughout the house, adding softness and warmth. Susie and Teassa visited the farm to understand the evolution and journey of the wool.
Stylish and sustainable materials feature throughout the exterior of the property. Delamore is clad with maintenance-free, Scandinavian-inspired narrow gauge bricks designed and developed by Susie. She chose Canterbury Clay as the material and had the bricks made locally.
Susie describes the design process as a highly considered journey. “I get a lot of my ideas through nature and thinking about things … walking on the hills and doing things like that just gives you an edge of sustainability.”
The property also incorporates negative design. The floating, timber-panelled ceilings include negative detail that adds texture. The lack of skirting or architraves creates clean lines that enhance the architecture. Designed with contemporary technical features, there is a high level of insulation; underfloor heating uses the hot water system, while thermally broken aluminium suites house the double glazing and airconditioning in the living and master bedroom suite.
The architecture, design and beauty of the outside space combine to create not just a house and gardens but a unique living environment deeply connected to and part of nature.
“The gardens are the first thing many people have commented on,” says Susie. “Every window you look out of you see a beautiful space.”
The connectivity between nature and the house is ubiquitous, as is the sophisticated simplicity of the architecture and design – Delamore’s heritage has been brilliantly transformed into a haven of calm.
Delamore is for sale; please contact Julia Ashmore-Smith on 0272435543. Or visit Bayleys website.
Photography by Stephen Goodenough