About us

Heritage Homes and buildings was originally founded by Keith Mitchell, who was a third generation master craftsman builder and had a passion for buildings of yesteryear, in particularly old English style homes.

Inspired by Keith's ideas, his son John, also a builder has gathered a team together to push Heritage homes and buildings into the future so Keith's legacy can continue to grow.

Our thinking

We have grown tired of the many uninspiring housing that seem to fill our neighbourhoods driven purely by minimum cost and by constantly promoting cheap products which ultimately lead to the evolution of the infamous leaky home. Not only were standard proven building and design principles ignored, but style and character completely forgotten. To break away from this mould we decided to put together a team of experienced builders and designers to offer you a wide range of heritage homes and buildings with a focus on Eco friendly materials, using a mixture of traditional and modern design and building methodology. Designs that have been proven to last in New Zealand's harsh and variable conditions.

Our aim is to offer you a point of difference with buildings that have timeless elegance and a classic style that will not date. We hope this will bring some pride back into our homes and buildings once again and a point of difference, a building that really stands out.

Any of these old homes below would still look amazing if reproduced today and be well sought after in today’s market

The home should be the treasure chest of living - Le Corbusier


By building a new heritage building we can capture all the style of yesteryear but with all the modern day comforts and energy efficiency that go with it.



Your heritage starts here

Specific architectural design

We have shown a variety of plans on this web site to give you ideas of what we like to build. We have vast resources to create other authentic looking heritage buildings specifically for you. Whether it be an English or pioneer cottage, a stylish Art Deco home, a beautiful Victorian Kiwi Villa, a relaxed Californian bungalow or a traditional English styled timber framed barn, we are confident we can come up with a design that will work for you. If you have a particular style, image or idea in mind then give us a call to discuss your requirements.

Pricing / costs

Our homes are unique and we can give you guideline pricing dependant on design and style, external and interior finishes. We are not interested in trying to compete with the vast ‘brick and tile’ type building companies, as we feel our designs and product choice are not comparable. We will always do our best to work with you and deliver a one-off home to suit your budget.

So what type of Heritage home or building do you like?


So what’s the difference between all the styles?

At times it can be a difficult question to answer as there are many examples of mixed styles during transitional periods, as fashions and requirements changed. As a simple guideline, here is a brief background into the main styles

The Victorian Villa (NZ)

This is probably the most iconic architectural style in New Zealand, most long term residents have either lived in or spent some time in one. The decorated bays, verandahs, high ceilings, timber floors, fret work, decorative gables and wide hallways give an unmistakable ambiance that few other styles can compare. As Europeans began to arrive here in ever increasing numbers from around 1860 the Victorian influenced homes began to appear on our newly developed streets. The Villa often reflected social status and shifting Victorian fashions along with the multitude of decorative timber that became available, there really was no limit. The evolution is an interesting story and for those looking into its history I would recommend several good books on the subject. Old New Zealand houses 1800 - 1940 by Jeremy Salmond and The New Zealand Villa past and present by di Stewart.


Bungalows

After 1910 a new style of home became fashionable In NZ, a style that crept over from the USA with a more relaxed approach to the look of our homes born in the form of the Californian bungalow.

This form used more simple and toned down design features with an arts and crafts influence throughout the home. With a more open plan style of living and lower ceilings with an artistic feel it really spelt a new wave of modern living which we still enjoy today. Many of these designs came from American plan books which designers quickly adapted to suit our living requirements.

The Californian bungalow is a real favourite of mine as it represents an era of beautiful homes with wonderful simple detailing, the likes of which we just see so little of today. For further reading my the most informative book on kiwi bungalows is 'The bungalow in New Zealand’ by Jeremy Ashford, this book is unfortunately out of print but try your local library, second hand book shop or of course, Trade me.


The pioneer cottage

Our first real kiwi houses, from around 1840-1880 are clad in timber weatherboards or board and batten, these typically small homes took many forms. Generally they were fairly modest with a front verandah and gable roof. Although simple in form they still maintain a certain charm, perhaps portraying a time when home life was far more simple than today.

Cottages – general

A whole range of sizes, shapes and styles can be labelled as a cottage. Generally I think of a cottage as a small to medium sized cosy home. Traditionally by definition they were a single story home and set in the countryside from the 15th century on. Cottages can be clad in anything from stone to timber, English, American and kiwi all different styles and influences. To me, being of English origins, a cosy home with a good fire complete with a climbing rose around the front door about sums it up.


Art Deco

An amazingly stylish period between the 1920's and 1940's, between the two world wars, that influenced not only architecture but interior design, sculpture, furniture, arts, fashion, and the film industry. It was a time of glitz, glamour and a new sense of style that probably was much needed after the war and Great Depression.
There are still some wonderful examples remaining in New Zealand, but many have also succumbed to the elements over time, poorly sealed parapets and moisture absorbing stucco plaster have not helped.
I don't know of anyone who has built an Art Deco house in recent times, but with modern materials and correct detailing, it would be wonderful to recreate a replica home of this iconic style.


Other colonial styles

As well as the traditional more familiar styles already listed other influences styled our homes and buildings of yesteryear. Georgian, a squarer home with replica timber quoins. The Regency, often with tiled roofs and ornate iron work replacing the timber posts, wonderful decorated gothic style with its steep roofs and gables with ornately shaped barge boards. The Queen Anne style with tiled roofs and often with magnificent turrets.

Last but not least

Australia has some beautiful colonial homes that should not be overlooked and are worth mentioning including the beautifully detailed Federation style, Aussie styled Californian bungalows an a whole mixture of Victorian and Edwardian styles.

Further interest

Howick Historical village in Auckland is well worth a visit
http://www.fencible.org.nz

Heritage New Zealand for a wealth of information and a list of places to visit NZ wide
http://www.heritage.org.nz

New Zealand History for all types of history in your area including heritage buildings
http://www.nzhistory.net.nz

Department of conservation has information about all types of our heritage including heritage buildings managed by them
http://www.doc.govt.nz