Minor Dwelling Extension

To own your own home as well as getting an income from it is an great option to help with high mortgages and steep land prices. A minor dwelling is a small rentable unit on your land that you can rent to others, while maintaining your own separate dwelling. They are protected by regulations regarding fire ratings (separating the two dwellings on site), separate living spaces that must not overlook each other, and parking spaces. This can add cost to a minor dwelling it if directly abuts the main house, through fire walls and sound proofing, however this often is outweighed by the extra income it can provide.

This minor dwelling in Howick was designed to extend an old seaside cottage. The cottage had been randomly extended over the years and had multiple roof forms and accretions to its elevations. Our task was to simplify the envelope and create an extension that looked different from the old (it had had way too many 'sympathetic' additions over the years to warrant yet another one!)


The site is a prominent corner in Howick which leads down towards the sea. We wanted to retain the existing slope of the land form and lead the eye towards the emerging seascape as you travel along the road. We designed the extension so that it used existing rooflines to extend the main dwelling - this added a garage and storage area. The minor dwelling then used part of an existing studio roof form and was extended with a contemporary metal sheathed studio that follows the line of the landscape leading down the hill. From the road it is discrete, and allows both privacy and empathy with the existing urban fabric. As you approach the minor dwellings separate entrance it adopts its own contemporary identity for its young renters. The construction consists of high quality insulation, sound proofing and quality glazing that ensure it is cost effective to run and has a sustainable use of energy.

Rental properties should not be the worst housing in the city. This is an example of the owners caring about the end result for the inhabitants and creating spaces that are a quality addition to the housing options within our urban environment.

Architect: Lisa Day, Donnell & Day Architecture

Builder: On Form Construction

Photographer: Sheera Gordon Photography