Kingsley Street, Grey Lynn

I'm enjoying drawing these old places we call 'villas' lately. I have no idea how they came to be called Villas, as I'm pretty sure a Villa is really one of those ancient Roman houses made of stone or masonry?

Our villas are made almost entirely of wood, built by decoration mad Victorians determined to one-up their neighbours with embellishments like fretwork, corbels, turned newells, spindles and finials (I'm a fan myself, but to some they're the architectural equivalent of a paper doily).

Victorians were an industrious and resourceful bunch, arriving here about the same time that steam powered timber milling machinery was invented, enabling them to quickly convert millions of acres of enormous Kauri trees grown over millennia into these residential beauties.

Whilst the houses were designed for a far more formal society: to present their best face to the street, not to the view or best daylight angles and laid out for a lifestyle completely at odds to our lifestyle today doesn't really matter because we are able to convert them nicely for modern use.

The fact that these houses are still standing in such numbers is testament to the craftmanship of the era. Unlike some more modernist styles that have followed they were always built with wide eaves that help keep the rain and extreme high summer sun out means they stand the test of time. And of course the added bonus is they are a lot of fun to draw!