Fri, Oct 14, 2022 6:00 AM

A labour of love


Tessa Jaine

With an executive industrial loft vibe that exudes style, Haddin Court Apartments are a wonderful meld of old meets new.

Words by: Paula Hulburt | Photos by: Sarah Brown

Each carefully curated detail adds to the sense of luxury loft living. For co-developers Jo and Owen Mackley, the apartments are the result of three years of hard work, tenacity and talent.

For former property manager Jo, the development tested her powers of imagination but she was determined to help breathe new life into the ailing apartments. The project captured their hearts right from the start, she says.


“It has been a love hate relationship, ending in a ‘Happily Ever After.’ We are proud of what we have achieved and how amazing it has turned out…we have saved her and that is something extremely special,” Jo says.

The hazy early spring sunshine fills the ground floor apartment which is cocooned from the traffic outside. Double glazing comes as standard in each of the 15 homes and high spec heat pumps fitted in each.

Each room comes with a deliberately crafted patina of age, a homage to the building’s build date of 1939 for Joseph Haddin. For Jo, respecting the heritage while creating functional and welcoming spaces was important.


From the vintage style hanging pendant lights and the Edison style bulbs within to the aged kitchen benches or the herringbone joist bracing, the building’s past has helped steer the renovation into the future.

Bold, sympathetic and in tune with its surroundings, the building makes a statement from the start. “The whole thing for me is that I want people to enjoy it, to enjoy living here. The new residents are the exciting next stage in her history adding their little bit of themselves to the story,” Jo smiles.

Reusing and restoring what she could from the original building was important to Jo and original timber has been repurposed elsewhere.


“I have a bit of a fascination for reclaimed rimu,” Jo jokes, “I love it. Some of it has old writing and marks on it and I left it like that. I didn’t want it all prettied up. When we do sand the rough sawn exteriors, it reveals the most amazing grain and colour”.

It has been a busy three years for the couple who moved from Christchurch and lived on site to oversee the transformation. Living in the building and doing the work gave them a valuable insight into what works best, even if it wasn’t always easy.

“It took three weeks just to do the stairs, to get rid of 100 years of paint and shellac,” Jo points out. Even the original art deco scrolled handrail has been sand blasted and repainted and put back to its original position. Where possible, the original rimu floors that had been hidden by carpet and lino have been hand sanded with care.

Jo designed a bespoke gallery hanging system for all the apartments so artwork can be rearranged without marking the walls. Given the concrete feature walls were hand plastered by Jo herself, she wants to keep them looking their best, she laughs.”

Vintage luggage, hand crafted chests and refurbished / upcycled furniture make it easy to imagine living in one of these beautifully designed homes. Jo is happy to help recreate the look for future homeowners. “I’m a bit of a magpie when it comes to collecting things,” she says.


In bringing the apartments back to life, not only have the couple breathed new life into an old and ailing building which was potentially going to be demolished, but they’ve also created a special haven.

Each apartment comes with a private outside courtyard complete with industrial steel awnings and cross bracing which strategically tie the past to the present. Norwegian maple trees and easy-care planting behind a digital locked gate creates an oasis. The kwila deck wends its way around the outside, extending the living spaces through large french doors from inside the apartment. Parking spaces are at the rear.

“People walking past have been keen to find out what’s going on,” Jo says, “…and I’ve been happy to show people,” she smiles. “People will come up to me and say, ‘oh, my nana lived here in the 1970s, that history is what excites me and that’s what makes Haddin so special.”

Six of the Haddin Court Apartments along Maxwell Road are being sold through Ben McLennan of Harcourts and will be coming to the market in the very near future.

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