Sparrow House

After a busy working life our client wanted to create her dream home on land that has been in the family for six generations. After walking around the land in all weathers, we found the sweet spot to build on, a soft ridge with long views in four directions. With a limited budget after retirement, our client had no room for extravagance. We created the plan with two pairs of equal sides. We pulled one corner of the roof up, to harvest the North-West winter light. We then folded it on the 45 to frame the bay windows below. 

Plain vertical larch boards support the roof form, providing a natural surface to frame the bay windows and line the porches. Farm homes need porches, they are the transition between farm/garden and shelter/home. The bay windows allow sunny, warm comfortable places to relax and enjoy the surrounding wide country. The black oxide floors and the dark stained plywood ceiling anchor the interplay of open and private space. Crafted joinery in deep timber tones is complemented by faded pink tiles and copper sheet highlights. This home is simple, strong and graceful. It gives an enduring sense of belonging and singes of its relationship with the valley. 

This project was built by Aplus Builders Ltd.

Sparrow House was the winner of the NZIA 2022 Wellington Architecture Awards and was also featured in the June/July 2022 edition of the NZ Home and Garden Magazine.



“My brief to John was to design my dream home. I was not sure how this would look but it should not be large, but still feel spacious and make the most of the 360 degree views. It certainly achieves this. I love the concrete floors and slanted black ceiling, at night it feels cozy and welcoming. My favourite spots are the two window seats where the winter sun and views can be enjoyed. Along with the outside decks, there is always a comfortable place to sit, either to enjoy the sun or take shelter from the wind.

I love the design and how it looks from the outside, it suits its environment. For the first time in my life I have a home that I absolutely love and am proud of. I feel very fortunate.”

John Mills Architects

21 Garrett Street,
Te Aro, Wellington 6011
+64 4 385 2255
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