Custom Design | Bespoke Build

Busy Auckland business couple, Sam and Greg, had recently purchased an inner city suburban site with the intention of building themselves a new townhouse. They were looking for a complete design and build solution.

The challenge was to create a modern two-storey, three bedroom inner city townhouse with two living rooms on a very small, oddly shaped, rear site; all this while maintaining access and vehicle turning, and an outdoor area to maximise the northerly aspect. Height restrictions on all four boundaries further complicated the design.

Greg and Sam were very keen on the use of exposed raw materials such as steel, timber and concrete, and wanted the house to be warm and cosy following years of living in a draughty villa. The selection of rusticated western red cedar weatherboards in combination with honed concrete block external cladding met this brief nicely.




“We commissioned McKinstry Projects to design and build our new home in Kingsland in Auckland. Being a small inner city site, there were a number of physical constraints so the design of a two-storey dwelling posed a number of ‘space’ challenges. We have now resided in this home for a little over four years and we can summarise as follows: the project, including sub-contractors was managed to a very high professional standard. The design is imaginative and processing through consent was painless. The standard of construction was outstanding and we had no issues either during or after the project. We unreservedly recommend McKinstry Projects for either a new dwelling or renovation work.”

Sam & Greg

Custom built matai and steel staircase
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Custom built matai and steel staircase

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Design details

The honed concrete block continued internally via a central spine wall from which a bespoke staircase was suspended. The stair consisted of laminated dressed matai treads on an individually welded steel channel stringer. The upper level ceilings were clad in hoop pine veneered plywood sheets with expressed negative joints. Iranian travertine stone flooring adds some glamour to the lower level floor and upper level bathroom.

The lower level consists of a bright and sunny north-facing kitchen/dining/living space, along with a bedroom and a small office where Sam can work from home. Upstairs there are two bedrooms and the family bathroom, as well as a second informal living space which opens out to a terrace with views north towards Grey Lynn.

The final result is a compact inner city dwelling which made the most of the limited site, with some lovely finishes and details, and a variety of different spaces to enjoy.

Project Details

Design/Planning: 12 Months
Construction: 6 Months


Design: McKinstry Projects

Cost/Build/Project Management: McKinstry Projects

Structural Engineer: Day Consultants

Cadastral Surveyor: A I Bates

Suppliers / subtrades

Builders Merchant: Placemakers New Lynn

Plumbing: Rex Cosford Plumbing

Drainlaying: Echo Drainage

Electrical: Laser Electrical

Roofing: Tasman Roofing

Brick/Blocklaying: John Worrall

Aluminium Joinery: Phoenix Aluminium

Kitchen: Superior Kitchens & Joinery

Tiling: Solid Tile Company

Painting/Staining: Jetspeed Painting

Structural Steel: Allwins Steel

Selected Products


Rusticated Western Red Cedar Weatherboards (bandsawn face) with stain finish by JSC Timber

Rusticated Western Red Cedar Weatherboards by JSC Timber

Internal stairs

Solid dressed Matai on welded structural steel channel by Allwins Steel