53 Chatsworth Road, Silverstream

  • Restormel. Original image submitted at time of registration.
    Copyright: NZHPT Field Record Form Collection. Taken By: C Cochran. Date: 29/06/1985.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 4149 Date Entered 5th September 1985


City/District Council

Upper Hutt City


Wellington Region


In 1928 notable architect James Walter Chapman-Taylor designed this Arts and Crafts-style house for Joseph Snell, a civil servant, and his wife Bessie Snell. Chapman-Taylor and his son Rex Chapman-Taylor built it. Restormel is the second house to be built to James Chapman-Taylor's 'suntrap' plan, which was essentially an open L-shaped design. (The first house being the Burgess House in New Plymouth built in 1913.)

The Arts and Crafts movement advocated a return to the handmade crafts of England before the industrial revolution. Chapman-Taylor had acquainted himself with buildings erected in accordance with Arts and Crafts principles on a trip to England in 1909, where he met Charles Voysey, Baillie Scott, Richard Parker and Sir Raymond Unwin, prominent figures in the movement. On returning to New Zealand, Chapman-Taylor adapted the Arts and Crafts 'style' to local conditions. Over the 50 years of his career he retained the principles of the movement, not only designing and building houses, but also making the furniture and fittings to go in them.

Restormel is of cavity brick construction, with "Crittall" metal windows and a tile roof. It is basically a single-storey building, but with two attic rooms with dormer windows breaking the roofline. Features in the interior of the house are exposed timber posts and ceiling beams, and an inglenook fireplace.

This house is considered to be a fine example of James Chapman-Taylor's designs and the skills of his son Rex Chapman-Taylor, in the Heretaunga-Silverstream area.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Chapman-Taylor, James Walter

Chapman-Taylor (1878-1958) was born in London and his family came to New Zealand in 1880. He was apprenticed to a builder in Stratford, and there he studied architecture by correspondence.

In 1909 Chapman-Taylor went on a voyage to England where he acquainted himself with the English vernacular and the Arts and Crafts movement. This trip had a profound effect on Chapman-Taylor's future work as he followed the principles of the Arts and Crafts movement, a movement with origins in the English Gothic Revival. Chapman-Taylor adhered to the Arts and Crafts principles of permanence, honesty, simplicity and beauty as espoused by architects C.F.A. Voysey (1857-1941), Baillie Scott, Parker and Unwin whom he met on this trip to England. He adapted the English movement to local conditions. His is an honest architecture which remained popular despite changing fashions. Chapman-Taylor adhered to Arts and Crafts principles over the 50 years of his career and showed a keen awareness of local forms and materials. He designed the furniture and fittings for many of his houses, including details such as wrought iron door and window fittings.

As an architect and a craftsman, Chapman-Taylor designed and then built his houses himself - approximately 80 of them dated between 1904 and 1953. While most of these houses are situated in Wellington and Heretaunga, there are others throughout the North Island and one in the South Island.

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

1928 -

Original Construction
1928 - 1929

Completion Date

24th August 2001

Report Written By

Helen McCracken

Information Sources

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Judy Siers, James Walter Chapman-Taylor', in Claudia Orange (ed), Vol. 3, p.92

Niven, 1975

Stuart Niven, 'J. W. Chapman-Taylor; Architect and Craftsman', Bachelor of Architecture, University of Auckland, 1975


Other Information

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.