We received this wonderful email from Mr C. Reed of Wellington recently and felt we had to share it with our audience and fans:
I saw the book about Bernard Johns advertised in the Wellington College magazine (I am an old boy) and obtained a copy. I have recently finished reading it – a great read – and noticed the request for information about other buildings designed by Bernard.
In 1947 or 1948 my parents bought the house at 8 Lemnos Avenue from Walter Norwood and we shifted from our then home at 34 Morehouse Avenue in Wadestown where we had lived throughout World War II. Actually, we swapped houses with the Norwood’s with some monetary adjustment being made.
My father turned the attached garage at 8 Lemnos Avenue into a home theatre and built three garages on the front boundary, rather spoiling the look of the property, I thought. However the garage was a very practical addition for the family as we had three cars.
I lived in the Lemnos Avenue house until I married in 1961. I was fascinated by the design of the Lemnos house so, in 1960, I approached Bernard to enquire if he would design a house for my wife and I and he agreed to do this.
I had obtained a section at 16 Chamberlain Road, Karori. It had previously been a tennis court belonging to the people who lived at 14 Chamberlain Road. Bernard designed and supervised the erection of a modest little house for my wife and I. It was completed towards the end of 1961. It had three bedrooms, lounge, dining room, extensive entranceway, hall and stairs, a kitchen, laundry, double garage and workshop. Two rooms featured bay windows. Most rooms had built in fittings including a marble fireplace with extensive shelves and a wall of cupboards and bookcases in the lounge, a very large china cabinet in the dining room, extensive cupboards and draws in the kitchen, laundry and main bedroom.
The house was built by H. J. Buck who lived in an adjoining house at the back of the property – a back section off Parkvale Road. Today, the house cannot be seen very well from the road as there is extensive vegetation blocking the view.
We were delighted with our home and only moved out when our forth child arrived leaving us insufficient sleeping space.
We got to know and respect Bernard over a period of more than a year and often think of the times we spent together designing and building our first home.
Colin Reed – Churton Park, Wellington
2 February 2016