Category Archives: Portfolio Entry

Fitchett Farm

Nov 2018

This was a great opportunity with a rural site in Long Gulley Station high above Brooklyn. The site is essentially flat with views down over a native bush-clad valley and stream with the western hills, Makara wind farm, and the South Island beyond.

The owners sold their compact bungalow in Brooklyn for more space and a connection to the outdoors. They were keen to have a simple barn type approach with exposed structure internally. We proposed a very simple extruded gable with 45-degree roof and walls of freezer panel and feature panels of brightly painted cement board and glazing. It is planned on 1m module that is 6m wide x 18m long footprint with 1/2 mezzanine and 1/2 open cathedral living space. The end western bay with views is set back in for a ‘tongue’ of timber deck that protrudes out over the bush. The structure is heavy glue-laminated timber portal frames with steel cross braced frames on a double concrete slab with hydronic central heating.

The house sits well as an unassuming barn in a rural landscape, but reveals itself internally with the smooth metal panels, heavy timber structure expressed steel bracketry and simple industrial materials of concrete, strand board, plywood that come together as a cathedral-like space.

Gate & Garden

Oct 2018

Infill meets multi residential housing on a pocket scale. The brief was to add 4 new dwellings to a site with an existing house containing several units. The existing building strikes a prominent symmetrical facade to the street, so the idea is to create formality and balance out on the street front – the gate houses, and slyness out back – the garden house. Each dwelling has one bedroom, bathroom, laundry cupboard, and open living areas (kitchen, dining, lounge). Each has access to quality outdoor areas – the gate houses to sun drenched decks, and the garden house dwellings to courtyards. The gate houses are lofted to accommodate parking for the site, and overall care has been taken to create privacy between the new and existing dwellings with quality landscaping (by Local) in between.

Portfolio Updated

Jan 2016

Hello. We’ve uploaded some more projects onto the portfolio page. This charming little garden studio in Paekakariki on the Kapiti Coast and this stealthy getaway house up in Kuratau next to Lake Taupo.

The photos are a little preemptive in that the projects weren’t quite finished at the time but we will have some nice completed shots online pretty soon.

Also we’ve got a few other completed jobs that we need to photograph for the website so stay tuned as the portfolio will be getting some more content real soon.

We do work in Auckland too…

Sep 2015

We were recently up in Auckland to photograph a couple of projects that were finished last year. One is on the North Shore and the other back down south at Mangere Bridge. We’ve also got some initial photos up of the recently completed house and flat up in Brooklyn, more to come soon on that one…

Studio closed in and nearing completion

Jan 2014

We’ve been working on the conversion of an garage to a 45m2 studio following a sketch design done by Gerald Melling. Its lofty 3.5m stud can be appreciated now the linings are on. Awaiting the final pieces mac trim, the exterior is almost complete. Geoff Askew and his team are doing a fine job.

Continue reading

Garden Rake

Oct 2018

Garden Rake is an infill dwelling settled into a relatively steep hillside overlooking Wellington’s Island Bay. It is made up of two distinct forms – the lower floor bedroom container that is articulated by timber ship lap cladding contrasted with vertical posts that extend up to form the perimeter for an upper floor roof deck, and the upper level which is a metal clad raking block that accommodates a generous open living volume connecting to the roof deck. The upper and lower levels are offset to better merge with the hillside and create a variety of outdoor spaces which look towards the Island Bay coast line.

Harbour View

Nov 2018

This is an extensive renovation and extension to a 1920s house on the ridge in Northland with fantastic views of the city and harbour to the east as well as the hills and suburbs to the west.

The basement level was excavated to create a significant lower level with two bedrooms, living room, bathroom and laundry with access to a landscaped garden area. The main level was reconfigured to create a new kitchen, dining and family space with covered balcony as well as a new bathroom and opening up the formal living spaces on the east side. The existing house already had a gable extension to the northwest, so the design solution was to add another gable to work as twin gables articulated differently to suit each of their purposes.

A master bedroom suite was added to the upper level with a dormer roof set below the existing ridge line.

As with most of our alteration projects in a suburban setting, we work with the existing forms and materials and look to minimise the external visual impact. We endeavour to create a more modern and open spaces that capitalise on the sun and views of the site while maintaining the traditional character of the original house.

Northland Victorian

One of David’s favourite renovations. This project was completed in 2012 and included a loft extension for two new bedrooms as well as a new home office at the front of the house. To accommodate the home office, we extended out on the south side to capture the sun and outlook. This new form had a roof deck with access from the formal living room above. Though not a specific part of the brief the roof deck enabled a simple box form with improved functionality and avoided having to look at a roof from the main level of the house above.

A traditional entry deck, veranda posts and decorative brackets were installed below the existing cantilevered sun room which gave the front of the house a prominent entry, anchoring the house to the ground.

Pembroke House

A home for a family on a rare empty section in Wellington’s inner-city suburb of Northland.

This infill site is 300m2 having been subdivided some years ago from the property behind. The house has three levels but was designed to appear more as two to reduce its visual impact, with a 45-degree sloped roof and dormer windows for the upper level bedrooms.

The Bottom level, which has a large garage, guest and utility rooms and a northern courtyard has been articulated with dark metal cladding extending to the top of a roof deck balustrade. The upper part of the house has light Macrocarpa board and batten cladding with generous glazing. There is a lofty internal main living space with outdoor living to the front as well as the more private compact landscaped garden and BBQ hut at the rear.

Construction is nearly completed as of the end of 2018.

Base Camp

Oct 2018

Base Camp is a house designed to be a hub. The idea is to create an environment which can switch between being a cosy dwelling to becoming the anchor point for visiting family who can camp around the edges of the building. Ablutions, kitchen, and living amenities can be accessed from multiple points outside and the living/kitchen/dining environment is set up to host bigger groups as needed. Hardscaped elements like decking and courtyards intersect and surround the floor plan which create multiple areas for recreation and relaxing on many sides of the building. The major axis of the building is oriented towards Mt Iron to the west while the minor north-south axis which houses the bedroom blocks helps reinforce and shape the various outdoor spaces.

Suitcase House

Jun 2015

This one bedroom design is located at the bottom of a narrow access strip which leads to a larger plot of land some 20 metres above street level. The design places a partially open living, kitchen, dining, and bedroom plan on top of a garage plinth with internal access. The internal stair splits the kitchen/dining/lounge area from the bedroom/bathroom area though the areas remain connected visually. A single sloping roof approximately follows the pitch of the site and creates a lofty and largely glazed volume at the living end, the effect of which makes a compact space feel larger than what it is. This is further increased by an outdoor patio on the glazed northern edge of the building.

Egmont Garage Office

Nov 2018

Half way through 2018 we decided to move our office back into The Egmont Street Garage, home of Melling:Morse for 20 years.

There was a reshuffle of some of the occupants and we moved into the space at the front of the building overlooking the lane.

The ‘Garage’ as we call it was a former heavy engineering workshop built in the early 1900s. It has cool steel trusses, exposed brickwork and lots of skylights with offices on a mezzanine level overlooking a garage and gallery space.

We refit the space prior to moving in – introducing more glazing, new lighting, timber, rubber gym mat flooring and our Macrocarpa desks reconfigured from Tennyson Street as well as our signature coloured panels at the entry.

Roseneath Alteration & Extension

Jun 2015

This design is composed of three distinct forms which look to connect a modern addition to a historic residence. The original house built in 1905 has had various additions and alterations over time which led to a scrambled building. The house has been stripped back to its original form and the earth floor basement beneath is excavated to create a habitable lower floor. A modern addition is created to the south of the existing house and connected with a flat roofed internal ‘street’ which is perforated with sunlight from above skylights. Verandas are reinstated on the northern side of the existing structure, albeit in a modern form, which opens the house up to its generous front lawn and garden as well as to views over Wellington Harbour.

Terrace House

Mar 2017

Another infill house puzzle, this time the design in in the front of the existing dwelling.

The site presents a rare opportunity to directly address street frontage while maintaining a sense of privacy for the occupants of the new dwelling. The house is set upon a garage ‘plinth’ with internal access up to a 2 bedroom house which opens out to a terrace (at living level) on the northern side of the house. Generous glazing opens up to this north terrace yet the windows recede in scale on the western and public face of the house to maintain a felling of privacy. The massing of the design also lowers in scale by terracing down to street level and offering up a garden which can be enjoyed by private occupants and the public alike. Timber board and batten cladding wraps the main house box while the minor circulation box attached to the south side is clad in metal corrugate which once again helps break down the overall mass of the design.

Aro Valley House

Mar 2017

On a typical steep and narrow Wellington site to the rear of an existing property the design of this infill house looks to draw as much quality amenity as it can out of infill housing regulations. The proposed three bedroom, two bathroom house spills down the slope over multiple levels which are connected to a variety of external terrace and decked areas. These zones give articulation to the long north façade, which is broken down with a combination of exposed block work, metal profile and timber cladding. In the office we are excited to be moving ahead with detailed design on this scheme, keep tuned for updates in the near future.

Box & Tower

Feb 2017

A three bedroom home spread over three levels on a tight site (177 square metres), Box & Tower is a exercise in squeezing the most out of infill housing restrictions on a difficult steep site. The original section was subdivided and master planned in collaboration with Spacecraft Architects (who designed the house to the rear of the site) and basic massing and materials were agreed upon. The design balances issues of privacy (site faces a busy street) while also looking to open up to the north and western sun and views. The main living floor is lightly broken up to accommodate living/dining/kitchen. This zoning is emphasised through a mixture of full height volumes and low height alcoves. All are hinged around a central stair case which draws together the main bedroom upstairs and two other bedrooms plus ablutions/laundry/WC downstairs. Multiple terraces flank the building on the north and south to provide outdoor amenity to a site where little exists. Macrocarpa shiplap cladding mixed with zincalume and fibreglass corrugate are used to help articulate the change in form from ‘box’ to ‘tower’. Short listed for 2017 HOME of the year competition.

Wilton Pop-Top

Jan 2017

A two part renovation that took place over a 5 year period. The first part was to modernise the internal layout by opening up key living areas to the west which offers sun and views. The second part was to connect the dwelling to the upper part of the site so the occupants (keen gardeners) could directly access these higher terraces. This connection is formed by the addition of an upper story (the ‘pop-top’) set behind the ridge line of the existing roof which bridges back to the site’s upper terrace via a spacious deck. Part of the under croft of the deck is enclosed to create a new entry and ‘mud room’. The addition’s cladding matches the weatherboards on the existing house but is offset by a mix of windows and coloured panels which form a continuous band around the upper storey. The overall result is that a humble house is knitted into the particularities of it’s setting.

Samurai House Extension

Oct 2016

The new owners of the iconic Melling:Morse designed ‘Samurai House’ are keen Japan enthusiasts. They came to us with a brief to design a Tatami room and Japanese bathroom to compliment the house. With the Melling Morse grid and Tatami mats dictating the size of the spaces, the internal finishes and connection to the outside came to play a large part in the design of the extension. Floor to ceiling windows to the corner of the room create a lofty light feel, coupled with battened ply wood linings and Macrocarpa beams and facings creates a calm and peaceful new space. The bathroom is in true Japanese style with a separate sink & toilet, and a wet room with a Macrocarpa bathtub hand crafted by a local boat builder.

Kowhai Garage

Jan 2017

This project turned an exposed car deck into a contained garage with a clean and simple form. Use of a limited material and colour palette enables the corrugated iron roofing and cladding along with the pine ply internal lining to create a simple modern look that contrasts and compliments the foliage which borders the site. Pine trusses are exposed internally with sections of semi opaque polycarbonate roofing above to filter light down into the space. Windows are placed to capture the view and tree life. Garages can be nice places too…

Parkvale House

Aug 2016

This is a new compact three bedroom house on a sloped urban infill site to the rear of an existing property. The lower level which houses the bedrooms is set part way into the hill side, with the living spaces located on the upper floor. This allows the living spaces to make the most of the views, sun and access to the upper garden. The spaces are defined in their use by varying ceiling forms & linings, sliding doors and open shelving. Macrocarpa has been used for the internal flooring, trim and ceiling linings, this coupled with light interior finishes creates a warm and homely feel to the dwelling.

Kuratau House

Jan 2016

Purchased as an incomplete and mostly empty shell, this project looks to make the most of the simple existing form and volume within. The main double height space is broken up with fabricated trussing and a mezzanine level bridge which connects bedrooms at either end of the house. Macrocarpa shiplap sarking and the timber trussing add a warm tone to the overall volume and contrast with the black metal corrugate exterior.

Paekakariki Studio

This project is all about enjoying your garden. Nestled among two mature pohutukawa trees towards the rear of the property, the studio uses extensive glazing to capture sun from the north and the west as well as opening the interior up to the trees and garden. Metal profile ‘sandwich’ panels are used on the non glazed walls and roof. Macrocarpa facings around the joinery, roof, and internal structure provide a softened contrast to the harder edged materials of steel, glass and aluminium.


Sep 2015

This project is an alteration to a 1970’s house perched among mature native vegetation with generous views across to Catalina Bay in Auckland Harbour. The design scope was to rearrange the main living areas of the house to make the most use of a back yard and pool area with pool to the south east and the lofted balcony to the north west. Dividing walls were knocked down to introduce natural light into circulation spaces which were previously dim and a degree of transparancy was introduced to the main living areas to take advantage of the surrounding vegetation and views. The tired stucco cladding was replaced with a mixture of macrocarpa trim and coloured panels which animates the house in what is a pleasant sub tropical setting.


Karepa Street House & Flat

Sep 2013

On a stunning site overlooking the town belt and harbour this project created two new houses.

The north, east and west walls of the living spaces are extensively glazed to take advantage of sun and views. Prefabricated insulated panels on an exposed glulam timber frame are used to create the main external structure, with the exception of the lower level bedroom block. The bedroom block is an earth-sheltered structure designed to reduce the visual impact of the building as well as create a usable grass roof area.

The build was carried out by Planit Construction who did a great job on this complex project.



Cherry Tree House

Jun 2013

Begun in 2012, this project looks to navigate the tricky terrain of infill housing. The client brief included requests for an economically lean house that should take advantage of generous northern sunshine, create a view over a distant Manukau Harbour, and achieve a generous open feeling within a small building footprint.

The design response is a ‘quartered’ plan with one part covered court, two parts living/cooking/dining, and one part sleeping. These are all hinged around a small tower and upstairs balcony granting a view out to the harbour. Across the way a small garage/art studio formally mimics the  house and helps to form a private yard for future landscaping.

PeaBox Renovation

Jun 2015

This somewhat dilapidated house across the road from Burnham Wharf has undergone an extensive repair and renovation to become a modern two bedroom home overlooking Evans Bay. Though no different in shape and size the transformation makes quite a difference, complete with generous roof garden and stripey awnings to invoke an English seaside cottage.

Woodward Street Office

Jun 2015

A fit out of a heritage office space at the business end of town. The space is divided by 2 large glass sliding doors into a three segments which contain a meeting/recreation room, work space & kitchenette, and semi-contained office respectively. The sliding door placement is dictated by the location of the structural concrete frames that support the above floor. A minimal material range of glazed aluminium doors, black rubber flooring, timber bench tops, and exposed cable trays make for a simple light filled space where business, table tennis, and after work beverages can be accommodated.

Rieger’s Print

Rieger’s print shop has been around for some time, and the owners felt it was time to update and reconfigure the shop fit out. A budget driven design proposed to create a generous front of house area for customers, a stripped back and simple appearance comprised of natural materials, and a sense of depth to the shop when viewed through the large street windows. Old ceiling tiles were removed to expose the concrete slab structure of the above floor, tired carpet was replaced by natural rubber flooring, and a simple timber counter and bench were installed. All electrical cabling is exposed or housed within a galvanised steel tray from which simple light fixtures are suspended while concealed lighting illuminates the bright red branding of the counter front.

Riddiford Street Medical Centre

Sep 2013

Located within the heritage character area of Newtown, this project is conceived of as two historical ‘bookends’ which mimic the existing street texture with a contemporary ‘bridge’ forming a link between.

The ground floor contains a retail space on the Riddiford Street boundary whilst the first and second floors house minor procedure and consulting rooms. Two full height light wells on the Northern boundary allow natural light to permeate through the building and create inner sanctums for visiting patients and staff alike.

This project was designed and documented by Melling:Morse Architects with tender and construction observation being carried out by Melling Architects.

Albert Street Studio

A split level garage with large store room over occupies the front of a suburban section. Its owners, living in the house behind, envisage converting the garage to a self-contained studio space – for work, play or as a teenage get-away. The store room floor is removed, giving way to a lofty 3.5m high stud living area, with a mezzanine bedroom beyond. Services – kitchenette, bathroom, storage – are recessed along one side; on the other, a stair well and two, west-facing verandas. The envelope is extensively glazed, finished with macrocarpa trim and coloured panels.

Garden House

Dec 2013

Built for a Wellington family in the rear garden of their 1900 villa on the edge of the city. This ‘garden’ house is designed to maximize the available land and sit naturally within a private and tree filled setting. This is achieved through the use of dark stained vertical timber cladding, evoking tree bark, in combination with large areas of glazing to make the outside space a part of the inside. The house has three levels, three bedrooms, a single garage, study, bathrooms and three upper level decks.

Abel Smith Flats – Heritage Alteration

Nov 2013

Originally built in 1897 as a family home, this two storey house was converted into two flats on the mid 1950s, one up, one down. This configuration was retained but both flats were completely reconfigured to make better use of the sun and light. The upper flat has a new bedroom within the roof space with dormer windows facing east and west, as well as a north-facing roof deck directly accessed from the main living area. The lower flat also has a private outdoor area to the north. This project is a part of the redevelopment of the three heritage properties on the corner of Abel Smith and Victoria Streets and was featured under construction in the Dom Post in Feb 2008.

Waiheke House

Sep 2013

Sited upon a gentle west facing slope on Waiheke Island, this design looks to place three distinct blocks under one roof. Designed as 2 stage project (1st – living block and bedroom/ablution block, 2nd – master bedroom and ensuite block) each block is separated by spaces that allow the site to puncture the bulk of the house which in turn lightens it’s mass. Patio and deck spaces that hug the ground line are located along the north and west faces giving occupants opportunity to move out into the landscape from various parts of the house.

Kelburn Villa Renovation

This extensive renovation of a 1920s villa overlooking the city CBD has just been completed as of September 2013. The existing house, containing two flats was almost entirely gutted and reconfigured to create a generous family home with four bedrooms, two bathrooms, new traditional veranda and decking to the front and a new driveway and tandem garage in the basement level.

Care has been taken to replicate period features throughout and particularly in the new front veranda which has enhanced the visual impact of the villa from the street. A total of 11 skylights were installed to introduce light and solar heat gain to the house. A lift has been added between the upper and basement levels to allow easy access

The result is a complete transformation to create a light, warm, modern and accessible dwelling in one of Wellingtons best locations.


Jun 2013

Located near the end of Wellington’s Victoria Street, beneath the branches of a rare Northern Rata tree, this design blends open plan modern living with rustic and natural materials.

CityBach is essentially a one bedroom apartment above double garaging with a roof-top entertaining deck complete with kitchenette and BBQ area.

The lower level is constructed of concrete block walls with concrete slab floor. The upper level is lightweight timber frame construction with Titan board cladding and Macrocarpa rainscreen cladding. Large areas of glazing including skylights have been incorporated to allow the maximum amount of light into the space. Internally recycled native timber has been used for flooring and kitchen bench tops.

Construction was completed in August 2007 and CityBach featured in the Jun/Jul 2009 issue of Home Magazine

Family Beach House

Jun 2013

Located amid the sand dunes of Waitarere Beach, this new-build 200m2 four bedroom holdiay home for a Wellington family takes its inspiration from the forms and materials of a traditional Kiwi bach – simple monopitched roofs, board & batten cladding and an interior lined with plywood.


Stevenson House

Jun 2013

Originally built in the mid 1880s, this three bedroom heritage listed cottage has been extensively rebuilt and modernised. The bathroom and kitchen have been relocated and the original north facing lean-to rebuilt to accommodate a combined kitchen, dining, living area. A strip of roof glazing along the boundary as well as large areas of glazing to the north enliven this once dark cottage with an abundance of natural light and sun. The project is the last part of the redevelopment of the three heritage properties on the corner of Abel Smith and Victoria Streets.

Tai Tamariki Kindergarten

Jun 2013

This 30 child full-time early childhood centre, on the ground floor of Te Papa in Wellington, was opened in February 2010. It is the first early childhood centre in the world to be located within a national museum. Facilities in the centre include open activity areas for learning and play, sleep rooms, child and staff toilets, a laundry area, an office and staff room, a kitchen to provide meals, and an outdoor activity space with central sand pit, as well as a new timber deck cantilevered out over the existing duck pond.

Maple House Offices

Sep 2013

Undertaken in 2001 by David Melling while working for Dyer in London, Maple House was a complete refurbishment of a 5 story, 1980s office building. Each of the six floors of the building were completely refurbished and modernised to include a central heating and cooling system as well as closing in the existing entrance with a full height louvre screen that created a spacious entry lobby and dramatically transformed the external appearance of the the building.

KiwiRail EMU Maintainance Depot (with Beca)

Sep 2013

Contracted directly to Beca, Melling Architect’s David Melling led Beca’s architectural team on this project from an early feasability and planning stage through to construction works on site.

Located adjacent to Kiwirails’s existing depot, the new maintenance depot was required in order to maintain Kiwirail’s new fleet of EMU passenger vehicles named Matangi (a total of 92 new cars being introduced between 2010 and 2012). The 5,000 m2 depot includes a 5-road maintenance floor and facilities for 50 staff as well as a separate wheel lathe and carriage servicing buildings.

Conceived of as a large box tilted on a 3 degree angle and clad in random-width strips of multi-coloured profiled steel and transluscent fibreglass, the new train shed is intended to inject a bit of design into this prominent part of the train yard while still being a simple, economical industrial structure.

Grace Cottage

Jun 2013

Originally built for a seaman in the mid 1860s and named after his wife – Grace, this three bedroom historic cottage is one of the oldest in Wellington. After years of neglect, extensive restoration has returned this house to its former glory, whilst equipping it for modern living. The bathroom and kitchen have been relocated and the original north facing lean-to rebuilt with large areas of glazing to the north and west as well as a strip of roof glazing to make best use of the sun and garden.

The project was completed late 2006 and featured in the Dominion Post in February 2008.

Karo House

Aug 2013

Originally built at the turn of the nineteenth century, this former home for a doctor was relocated from the corner of Willis and Abel Smith Streets in 2007 as part of the inner city bypass project. In 2010 the property was purchased by a private investor and we were commisioned to turn the dilapidated interior into a modern office complete with six individually lettable rooms, two kitchens and four bathrooms over two levels. The property is heritage listed and so the design process involved consultation with the Historic Places Trust. On completion the building was named Karo House as it backs onto the newly formed Karo Drive. Karo House is now fully occupied by international advertising agency Young and Rubicon.

School House

This 125m2 former Ngaio school classroom block, relocated onto the sand dunes of Waitarere Beach, has been completely renovated inside and out. The house is seperated into two distinct blocks – one for sleeping and one for living, connected by an entry. All the windows have been banked together on the north side of the house for maximum sun. Recycled native timber has been used for the flooring, kitchen and bathroom joinery.