Winning by design: Stephenson and Turner

Dennis Chippindale’s passion for living on hills together with his desire for easy living combine in his own home high above Church Bay, looking across Whakaraupo/Lyttelton Harbour towards Quail Island and the Port Hills.




Having lived on hill sites in Wellington, Dennis loved the views but disliked houses spread over many levels.

As a Principal Architect at Stephenson and Turner, Dennis was able to design his own home to be single level so “it follows the contours of the site so it is long and thin.”

Artfully blended into the landscape and clad in cedar, the house is barely visible on the hill and from the roadside, “We love that its modernist and extended shape blends in a bit like a DoC hut,” says Dennis.

An outside room provides alfresco living with protection from the muscular easterly wind. Sustainable and energy efficient, the house – which won a 2020 Local Architecture Award – more than twice code for insulation.

The 200-degree view is a favourite, but boulders the size of cars – a legacy of the Mt Herbert lava flow – that had to be shifted, have morphed from a serious construction challenge to an authentic character landscape feature Dennis and partner Sahra love.

The design was realised by residential and commercial construction experts Proceed Building. Director and qualified Joiner Ian Mayer says: “The project had a lot of detail, from the birch ply and cedar panelling, to the oak trusses and maple veneered doors, which required a great deal of skill and time to get the detail perfect.

“The curved bookshelf, bathroom and wardrobe joinery and shelving were made on-site and installed by the team. It was an exciting journey working with clients Dennis and Sahra.”

A favourite characteristic of the build for Ian is the way the house curves into the hillside – that was a complex aspect of the project as well. “It is a beautiful location, however hill-work provides unusual challenges, and the landscape evolves as you work on it,” says Ian.

“We are grateful to our experienced team and subcontractors for their dedication and skill put into the project.”




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