The first
Passive House Institute Low Energy Refurbishment in
New Zealand

We hope our journey and learnings will encourage others to build warm and comfortable homes.

This high-performance building has been renovated to world leading standards for warmth and comfort, and at the same time pays respect to the past by retaining and enhancing the character of the existing home.

Located in Christchurch, New Zealand where the climate range is approximately -4 deg C (25 deg F) to 25 deg C (77 deg F), one of the primary project outcomes was a warm and comfortable home for our family of five to live for many years to come.  

The inability of an existing 1930s bungalow to achieve that comfort outcome is unsurprising and necessitated a major refurbishment. Passive House was adopted because it is a world leading building standard for residential homes.

The house was significantly damaged during the 2011 Canterbury earthquake sequence and we purchased the land and building in 2016. The existing building needed extensive modernising to meet the needs of modern family living and a proposal to refurbish the existing house and incorporate a newly designed and very modern extension was embraced with enthusiasm.

Passive House Institute certification was achieved in 2021. A Green Building Council Homestar 'built' rating of 8 was achieved in 2022.

Foundation stones for Woodford and Grace


WOODFORD: is the name given by the very first owner reflecting the suburb he grew up in London.  The name Woodford is placed at two locations on the existing building, one is carved into the wooden Woodford Arch in the Leather Lounge and the other is the foundation stone that is now laid in the brickwork near the front door.

GRACE: is the name we have given the new part of the building and reflects the graceful design as well as acknowledging the our second daughter who was stillborn.  The name Grace is carved into the stonework on the outdoor fireplace under the Pavilion.

Together, the home is titled Woodford Grace that symbolises a coming together.


A principal design philosophy of Woodford Grace is the ability to contrast between different design elements and harmonise across the wider design.  It is the success of Woodford Grace to be able to traverse this difficult route that adds to its intrigue and differences it from the more common new builds.

There are several contrasting elements:

The exterior cladding weatherboards are placed horizontally on the old house and vertically on the new house.

The old house is two levels versus the new house being one level.

The new house has a pent and flat roof versus the old house has a traditional hip and valley roof.

The landscape on the new part of the house includes modern shapes and materials, versus the old part of the house that is a traditional design reflecting its heritage.

The Woodford stone is placed on the south, versus the Grace stone being placed on the north.

Internal doors on the older house are traditionally hung, versus the new house where they are typically sliders.

The driveway in deliberately messy and organic in design, versus the structure of the old and modern parts of the home.

And there is harmony across elements:

The colour of all the weatherboards is uniform.

The flooring materials are common being wooden floors or carpet.

The roofing material for both the pent as well as the hip and valley rood is the same being long run iron.

An isometric photo of Pavilion


Our team of design and construction professionals produced an amazing lifetime experience for our family and one we expect will give us many years of enjoyment.  

Some of the highly recommended members of the team that went above and beyond just good, include:

Philip Jacobs

main contractor and craftsman

Philip Jacobs Building Services

Tony Milne

Landscape Architect
Rough Milne Mitchell

Ashley Wilson

Structural Engineer
Lewis Bradford

Yan Dimitrov

Cornerstone Brick and Block

Aaron Kells

Portal Frame Installer
California Homes

Shaun McMahon

Landscape Construction
Shaun McMahon Landscape

Denise Martin

Passive House Design Consultant
Oculus Engineering

Cymon Alfrey

Cymon Allfrey Architects

Michelle Abley

Project Manager

Pete Clark

HV Electrical
Sharp Electrical

Terry Wyatt

Low Voltage Electrical and AV
Soundline Audio

Barbara Rivers

Drapes and furnishings
The Makers Atelier

Murry Turnball


Graham Woodham

Cabinet Maker
Modern Age Kitchens and Joinery

Kay Nelson

Leadlight craftsperson
Trinity Glass

Camillo Schulz

Terranova Tiling

Jason Van Wyk

The Architectural Roofing Company

Bjorn Ledwig

Door and Window installer

Shane Stevens

S Sevens Decorating

Ian McQuarrie

Spouting installer
Continuous Group

Trevor McDonald

Irrigation design and install
The Irrigation Warehouse

Kevin Mauchline

Garage Door Manufacturer
Custom Made Garage Doors

Peter Grant

PJ Grant Builder

Masa Sato

Japanese Garden
Design and install

Jason Quinn

Passive House Certifier
Sustainable Engineering

Simon Gibbon

Passive House Products
Pro Clima

Pat Keogh

Paramount Pools