32 / Scorpio / Mum to George
Maria Hosking - considered, clever and kind, with a personal style I have admired for years. I spoke to Maria in her home; a joint venture between her and her builder husband, James. Although I had heard great things about this home, visiting it exceeded any expectations. The thought and attention to detail is testament to the Hosking duo's talents. I speak to Maria about navigating the new world of motherhood, designing her home and her favourite places.
You’re an architect married to a builder. There must be great synergy when it comes to projects.
Yes, I don’t think we quite realised how advantageous our pairing was in that regard when we first got together. It is unusually common for architects to end up with other architects, but they have all got it wrong…the builder/architect combo is a winner!
Professionally both James and I really benefit from the exposure to each others fields and we are continuously seeking advice and learning from each other, which is something our projects and clients significantly benefit from, whether we are working on the same project or not.
Our partnership has allowed me to design and affordably realise our own home, which is not something that a lot of designers at the same stage in their career have the opportunity to do. It has also been a fantastic learning exercise for us both, we are already excited for the next home we design and build together.
Were there any elements or details that were non-negotiable when building your current home?
We had to work with what we had, a 65m2 cottage with little character and zero architectural merit, but it was all we could afford! The extension is clean and simple and incorporates concrete floors and a double-glazed north-east facing gallery that opens out on to a courtyard between old and new.
I believe our buildings need to work harder and will always choose smart and sustainable over big, dumb and ostentatious. Our home is no exception, by designing with passive solar design principles the glass gallery regulates internal temperatures and provides ‘free’ heating and cooling. The footprint is not large but no space is wasted, for example rather than a mere hallway used for circulation, generous sliders mean the gallery can become a covered extension of the courtyard, or the walnut walls can slide back to extend the bedrooms.
I can imagine my sons toys spilling out from his bedroom and in to the courtyard beyond, it also makes for a beautiful space to practice meditation or yoga in the morning sun. I insisted on timber joinery and natural low toxicity finishes, the white interior and exterior is offset by the warmth of the rich walnut cabinetry and walnut stained timber joinery throughout.
Where is your most favourite place in New Zealand?
Piha, I grew up close by in Titirangi so it has always been a special place to me.
Who are you most inspired by?
I feel very inspired when I go to talks from female architects that I admire, both local and international. They often touch on the juggle between their passion for architecture alongside motherhood, complimented by exquisite work and successful careers that they have worked so very hard for.
Where is your favourite spot at home?
It would be a tie between our built in daybed that gets glorious morning sun and is big enough for the whole family and the concrete corner seat and fire pit in our backyard. I designed this to catch the very last of the sun each day and to ‘bookend’ the backyard– drawing your eye to the farther most corner and therefore utilising the entire site.
What is the first thing you do when you get home from a long day?
Being a mother of a young baby I feel like my days don’t really ever end or begin! But it used to quite often be a little red wine outside in the last of the sun in said concrete area… lately I have found myself retreating to this space with George, under the trees and in the last of the sun for an early evening breastfeed.
It’s a Sunday afternoon. You have friends coming over for dinner. What is your go-to?
If it were summer it would be some fresh and yummy salads (usually Ottolenghi inspired) and a nice cut of meat on the BBQ. In winter I cook a lot of curries.
Your favourite meal?
Pretty simple when I think about it - salmon and green veges!
If you could go anywhere in the world right now – where would it be?
James and I spent our honeymoon in Sri Lanka two and a half years ago. I adored everything about it, especially the people, architecture and food. I would love to take our son George there but at this stage would only attempt to via teleportation device!
What is your most treasured item in your home?
Before returning to New Zealand from our OE in London, we travelled Europe in a campervan named ‘Sunrider’ for five months. On this journey we collected various items such as a ceramic tea set in Germany, a set of Stelton knives in Copenhagen, a painting in Norway, a lamp on the West Coast of France, leather poufs in Morocco, a wooden dog in Prague and various rugs, books etc.
These items are now my most treasured as they hold so many beautiful memories and remind me that although we were in the most free and wild stage of our lives, we were subconsciously starting to build a home together, long before any official commitment had been made between us.