The night-time vistas at Minden Hill are breathtaking, with broad sweeping views overlooking the vast ocean and Tauranga’s twinkling city lights. This is the view that captivated Graeme Neilson one clear autumn evening, just as dusk was settling in, and what kickstarted his years-long project to transform the house atop Minden Hill into his home.
It was 2018 when Graeme purchased the property and although the location was faultless, the house on the land didn’t fit with his vision. Graeme explains “It was the ugliest house you could ever imagine in the most beautiful of settings.” It was a monotone plaster clad building, designed in the Modernist style popular from the 1930s to the 1960s. Continuing the theme of the minimalist cladding the roof was a flat pitch, characteristic of the architectural style, giving it an almost industrial aura. Though the building wasn’t to his liking, Graeme saw the potential, and could imagine how a redesigned home could look with a pitched roof at the centre of the project.
Graeme’s vision for his new home drew inspiration from Canada, where his brother lives. Having spent a lot of time there, Graeme fell in love with the aesthetic of wood shingles and slate cladding that is characteristic of the country. This would require a drastic overhaul of both the exterior cladding and the roof structure. To kick-start the project, Graeme contacted Peter Lochhead of Lochhead Design Ltd. With a clear brief that had the roof change at the core of the project, Peter redesigned the entire roof structure to form a complex pitched roof with multiple storeys, gables, hips and valleys.
Once the design was in place, the material choice was an easy decision to make. Graeme chose Gerard’s CF Slate profile, a slimline roof tile system made of a core of Zincalume®, coated in proprietary protective layers and finished in a natural stone chip coating with overglaze. In the final design, the CF Slate tile roof was accompanied by external gable support posts finished in a natural slate cladding. Graeme says of the design, “That shingle type roof was just something that I really loved and being able to find it in a metal form to get the strength and durability of steel was just the ultimate.”