• 11 September 2019
  • Lara van der Raaij

We are almost halfway through our planned time closed for reinterpretation at Katherine Mansfield House & Garden. As with any building work, we have experienced our fair share of delays and complications. However, we can update you on progress concerning:

  • Weatherboards
  • Roofing
  • Exterior Painting


Left: Luigi our carpenter artwork repairing exterior weatherboards.

Right: Original 1888 rimu construction

While modest, the original 1888 construction of 25 Tinakori Road was conservative and solid. This is thanks to the rimu framing and totara boards which are extremely hard-wearing. These hardwoods were common in New Zealand construction prior to 1910. Since this period, the construction industry has transitioned into fast growing softwoods such as radiata pine.

As part of the 1987 restoration of the house, the large west facing bay windows were cut out of the façade to be replaced by windows replicating the 1888 construction. The gap left by the larger bay windows was replaced with a combination of totara and pine, due to the low availability of totara. However, the replacement weatherboards were placed meeting the original in straight vertical line following the cut of the façade.

In the recent repair of weatherboards, these joints were staggered as is good practice, in order to ensure that moisture is not let in these gaps.

Above: Weatherboard timeline at 25 Tinakori Road, Red indicating joints/cuts


As part of general maintenance, the roofing iron was replaced to ensure the house was kept waterproof. In the 1980s, it was found that while the roofing matched that of pre-1907 photographs of the original iron roofing, the ridge and capping pieces had been removed and reused several times suggesting that roofing had been replaced. Therefore, the maintenance continues the care to represent the original while ensuring the quality of protection from the elements.

Exterior Painting


Left: West side of the house in the process of being painted

Right: North window in the process of being stripped of paint ready for a new coat

The house has not had a fresh coat of paint since restoration in the 1980s. Original research by the Katherine Mansfield Birthplace Society determined the original exterior colours through the use of paint scrapings compared against early photographs. The original colour of weatherboards was identified as BS 06-C-33. The defined British Standard paint colours would have been appropriate to 1880s New Zealand.

The fresh exterior painting in 2019 matched this colour as closely as possible. It was ensured that the new coat would adhere properly to the current surface so as to avoid bubbles on the surface and ease of future maintenance.

Share this post