Contemporary Deco

With its bright, open spaces and 1920s art deco design, this Richmond home is a 21st-century homage to the decade of style. Owner Greg Partridge refers to it as contemporary deco - the merging of traditional architecture with modern-day living.

While David Magill Builders finished the house only two years ago, first impressions are of an iconic, art deco home, complete with flat roof and curved lines, that appear unchanged in the last 100 years. But, the interior is very different. Inside is a functional, modern design, accented throughout with a flair reminiscent of the Great Gatsby.

This was the brief Greg set for the design and build team at David Magill, and he’s thrilled with the final result. “I honestly love the house,” he says. “The way it sits on the street, the backyard, the homely feel of the lounge, my balconies upstairs… Everything about it speaks of a quality build. I’m totally rapped.”

Greg never imagined he’d build. He was, after all, quite happy with his circa 1929 Art Deco home on Avonside Drive, but when the Canterbury earthquakes hit, the original house sadly split in two.

After it was listed as a red-zone property, and the home was demolished, he tried for 18 months to find a company to replicate the original design on a section he had purchased in Richmond.

At the time, everything in Christchurch was being ripped down, and I thought, this city will just be boxes with no architectural character whatsoever,” Greg says. “I wanted to replicate the style of the original home and pay homage to what the earthquakes had destroyed.


Drawing up his own plans loosely based on the previous layout, he contacted David Magill Builders and the process was streamlined from there. “It was brilliant,” Greg says. “They understood my vision straight away and were very responsive. They were chasing me up for stuff rather than me having to chase them. I would do it all again in a heartbeat and I’ve recommended them to so many people. If you want a builder who understands bespoke, speak to the team at David Magill.”

The floor plan is in keeping with 1920s design, but efforts have been made to enhance its flow and make it more open plan. The kitchen is however separated from the dining and living rooms, as was the traditional style. The new home consists of two bedrooms and two bathrooms, with the master bedroom opening up on to two balconies. The guest bedroom is equipped with a full bathroom and a powder room provides restroom facilities for visitors.

The colour palette makes the home feel spacious and light. Greg says he opted for Resene 1/8 Rice Cake white inside, which contrasts beautifully with charcoal-coloured carpet and grey marble tiles. The exterior is clad in Resene Alabaster with a sleek black trim. 

Art deco is a recurring theme throughout the home, with its unmistakeable influence spotted in the architectural mouldings, hardware, wallpaper, fireplace and mantle, and balustrade that leads up the stairway.

“I wanted to keep those art deco features, but make adjustments for modern-day living,” Greg says. “I’d lived in the original house before the earthquakes, so I knew what needed to be changed. I followed the template but futureproofed it by making a few tweaks. It’s a brand new build, but people have turned up here to do installs, saying they weren’t sure whether to come in because they were looking for a new house. It just looks so much like the original art deco style.”

Working with the David Magill team was a dream, Greg says. Through every stage of the design and build process, Craig and his colleagues were extremely responsive when he had questions, and provided options and solutions to any issues that came up.


“They were just really good to work with,” Greg says. “All the team working on the site were really pleasant and friendly, and were considerate to the neighbours. Because it’s a long, narrow street, when trucks were coming and going they put notices in people’s letterboxes to advise them of interruptions. There was no loud music blaring on the building site, and neighbours actually commented on how respectful the builders were. David Magill Builders really are a good, decent Kiwi company.”