We look through some of the ICONIC Mount houses designed by architectural designer Will Tatton, starting with his own.


“The honest simplicity of a modest all-timber house appeals to me as house construction has become more complex and more processed, more artificial, more everything: ensuites, double garages, automated systems. The list and the costs grow and grow. It’s new builds on steroids.

“Looking for a home for my family, I happened across a ubiquitous 1963 L-shaped, Beazley standard-plan house. What makes it feel so solid, enduring and part of the landscape? This family home is 105 m2 with three bedrooms, one toilet, one basin. The single garage is in original 1963 corrugated steel. What an antidote to today’s expectations.”

Slender, wearing a checked shirt, black woolen blazer, wooden-framed glasses and leather brogues, Will rides his bike everywhere. “We have about ten houses under construction at the moment, and I managed to visit five of them on a bike ride the other day.” He reminds me of a gentle, intelligent, preppy professor at Harvard.

Will Tatton is part of the Bay of Plenty fabric. Of our last two of our covers he says: “Peter Williams is my brother-in-law, and Anne Sharplin is a good friend.

“It’s such a relief, after the recession, to move back to working with the end user. We deal with fewer people now, not so many builders and subcontractors. But that actually makes our job more sociable, and a bit like psychology, which I like.

“My job is a pleasant blend of art and business. The people side of things is eternally fascinating to me. As designers, we work out how people’s lives are going to be led, then we design a house around those patterns.”

The owner’s brother cast the concrete kitchen benches.

“We are all different, but we are all common. In reality, we all have different dreams in our heads, and Kiwis generally feel that they can make those dreams come true with our own house design, whether it’s large or small.

“Over the years, I have developed a way of dissecting people’s lives, working out what their dreams are, what they’ve achieved, and what they’ve accumulated in their brains over years of thinking.

“I often ask clients what kind of materials they liked when they were young, like cedar or stone, what games they used to play, where they’ve been, what they’ve seen and what they loved. All these thoughts collect over many years. I delve back into that psychology, into all those dreams and ideas that are stored in there somewhere. Then I unpack them, and bring them back to life.”