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Combining old and new

A historic villa crying out for a restoration was granted its wish in a big way when it was transformed by Aaron Guerin of LAD Architecture. Converted into a grand and beautifully presented home, the villa has been given a new lease on life. In addition, it has provided Aaron Guerin with his first National ADNZ | Resene Architectural Design Award Winner title.

"The existing building was a small and run down historic villa but it had huge potential" said Aaron. "The dwelling is located on a sizable corner site in a developed and characterful area of Cambridge. Beautiful tree-lined streets frame two sides of the site, with a large protected tree located to the south-west corner. The brief called for the villa to be renovated in a way that was sympathetic to the original home while injecting all of the luxuries of modern day living. It also required a large extension to be added to the rear of the home to accommodate the owner's collection of antique furniture."

As villa restorations often do, the design and build had its own set of unique challenges. These included the presence of the heritage tree located on the property, the need for re-piling, curious neighbours, height to boundary issues and the need for large open plan living spaces.

Aaron said that there were several creative solutions used to combat these issues.

"Because the existing dwelling required re-piling the decision was made to relocate the house forward on the site. Careful precautions were made not to interfere with the protected tree during the process. Relocation of the dwelling also created space to the site's rear to accommodate a large extension and new garage. Because the owners adored the character of the original home we were committed to restoring beautiful features such as the verandah fretwork, ceiling roses, and double hung windows."

In addition, to ensure absolute comfort within the home, passive design elements were utilised wherever possible.

"The main living was orientated north to allow for solar gain. Large characterful verandahs were designed with dual functionality in mind, providing effective screening from the harsh summer sun. The entire home was re-insulated and new double glazed windows were installed throughout," says Aaron.

The end result is a much loved villa that celebrates all the beauty of its original character.

ADNZ CEO, Astrid Andersen, said it is wonderful to bring attention to the work of Aaron Guerin and LAD Architecture through this wonderful project.

"This type of project highlights the diversity of our member's work. The winning designs of this year's awards have been across all categories and demonstrate what can be done with an empty lot through to, in this case, a historic home."

Aaron Guerin said that as a highly respected professional body, ADNZ has provided LAD Architecture with a platform to showcase some of their best design work.

"They support, encourage and promote their members, along with celebrating their successes at every opportunity!"

For more information on Aaron Guerin visit: