Part 2…Plas Mawr…A step into yesteryear…A historical home in New Plymouth…A day to remember…

June’s warm and friendly demeanor is a delight to behold.  We feel fortunate to have met her and had the opportunity for this special experience.

As we entered the historic house, Plas Mawr, (which translates to “big hall” in Welsh), owned by June and Simon Moseley, we realized the treasures we found on the grounds continued well into the fine home.

We entered the sun room to find this book, “The Life and Times of James Walter Chapman-Taylor.”

June explained many of the details in the building, upgrading and maintenance of the house while our eyes flitted around the rooms perusing the many amenities the renowned New Zealand architect, James Chapman-Taylor had so thoughtfully included in the design of the home, so well preserved today, over 100 years later.

The home’s Arts and Craft’s woodwork and style is reminiscent of homes, many of us have seen in our past.

Each space had its own personality as the theme of the era followed from room to room never deviating from the concept of his design and the era of the decade and beyond. The popular Arts and Crafts concept was popular in areas of Minneapolis, which we both had seen on many occasions over the years.

This clever seating nook and appropriate narrow table brought visions of “tea time” to mind.

An expensive concept at the time, it required the inclusion of detailed quality, uncluttered woodworking, unique contemporary mechanisms, and the use of nature as a backboard. 

June and Simon have made the historic home comfortable for their needs while carefully maintaining the integrity of the style. 

The Craftsman style of home flourished throughout the world finding its way to New Plymouth, New Zealand by Chapman-Taylor in the early 1900s when he built 80 homes:

“James Walter Chapman-Taylor (24 June 1878 – 25 October 1958) was one of New Zealandʼs most important domestic architects of his time, bringing the Arts and Crafts Movement to New Zealand houses he designed. Chapman-Taylor was also a skilled craftsman, builder, furniture designer, photographer, and astrologer.”

The fireplace behind this copper screen is still used today as the only source of heat in the home.

The world-renowned Frank Lloyd Wright (see below) built many homes of this style in Minnesota and throughout the US:

Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the most important and prolific architects of houses in the U.S., was one of the originators of the Prairie School style, which was an organic architecture outgrowth of both the American Craftsman style aesthetics and its philosophy for quality middle-class home design. Wright’s career spanned through the Victorian, Chicago School, American Craftsman, Prairie School, International style, and Modernism movements. The Robie House is an example of his American Craftsman-inspired Prairie School work.”

Do these light switches bring back memories of long ago?

Having spent 25 years of my career as a real estate broker/company owner, I had many opportunities to see and occasionally sell one of these styles of homes. They often sold quickly although they may have been priced higher than homes of the more ornate style of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Their popularity continues today.

The architect-designed these special windows that remain today as practical and functional.

Plas Mawr is a perfect example of the integrity of the style which we’ve attempted to illustrate in today’s photos. June was the perfect tour guide as we wandered throughout the house stopping on many occasions to talk along the way. 

The Arts and Crafts style are clearly illustrating in the design of the ceilings.

After our tour, we settled in the comfy seating in the sunroom as June educated us on New Zealand’s cultural history which we’ll include in a future post. As a teacher, she was able to present the information in a context of great interest to us both. It’s a highly charged topic for New Zealander’s which we hope to present with the dignity and sensitivity it so well deserves.

When replacing kitchen appliances June and Simon included this “antique appearing” style range and oven.

We shared many of our cultural and wildlife experiences throughout the world with June as she listened attentively and with a natural curiosity as to the unusual lifestyle we lead, very supportive of the choices we’ve made to explore the world for as long as we are able. 

The original cabinets were open without doors and drawers which we added at a later date.
We all giggled when June brought out some postcards from Minnesota from a visit to the US some time ago.

Finally, it dawned on us it was time to go. June had guests arriving for the holiday weekend and we needed to get out of her hair. She insisted we stay longer which warmed our hearts but we preferred to let her continue with her busy day.

Check out the electricity running to this original light fixture.
The beautiful wood cabinetry was carried into the bathroom.

We all enthusiastically hugged goodbye at the gate. We hope to meet again in our next over two-month stay in New Plymouth. Its truly been a pleasure. Thank you, dear June! Thank you, Plas Mawr!

Photo from one year ago today, February 7, 2015

Cattle egret are common in Hawaii and many other parts of the world. In Kauai, they often gathered near construction sites, lawnmowers, and gardeners hoping that the processes will stir up worms in the soil. For more photos, please click here.