Architectural Elegance Made Accessible To All

Born in 2014, Mangawhai business ‘MyPad' is the brainchild of Sarah and Ben Lay - a collaborative husband and wife team who have utilised their extensive experience in architectural design and building to introduce elegance and simplicity to local homes.

Adorned with the catchphrase ‘artfully simple,’ the MyPad business concept was born through Sarah and Ben's desire to simplify the design and build process. With a carefully designed ‘footprint' their goal has been to create homes with a seamless interior living flow and a graceful, pared back aesthetic. Far from an abstract design experiment, the footprint has been tested by Sarah and Ben, whose own home incorporates the same module sizes. As Sarah explains, "Our homes appeal to a wide variety of people, from a couple in their thirties with young children to a retired couple in their eighties. The homes are designed to be simple yet elegant, with an ease of living, suitable to the Mangawhai lifestyle.” The classic footprint encompasses a two bedroom, two bathroom home, with optional add-on features such as a third bedroom, boat-shed or sleep-out.

MyPad is a member of the New Zealand Green Building Council - an organisation with a vision towards creating a sustainable built environment. Following the council’s framework, MyPad offers Homestar certification: "a rating tool designed to make sure that Kiwi homes are healthy, warm, dry, sustainable and energy efficient places for New Zealanders to enjoy.” Internal Homestar design features might include dual-flush toilets and low-flow taps to minimise water waste while externally there are considerations such as photo-voltaic panels for solar energy, or the careful positioning of the clothesline and vegetable garden plots to increase household efficiency. Designed with the future in mind, MyPad is also affiliated with Lifemark - the principle that homes are designed to be safe and usable for all ages and stages of life. MyPad’s user-friendly designs include considerations like wheelchair access and assistance railing. 

Working predominantly with a natural palette, MyPad designs are flexible and can be customised to client preferences and to respond specifically to the building site and environment. With the use of timbers such as American oak and cedar there is an emphasis on quality, durable materials which weather naturally. The same approach is reflected in the integral relationships that have been carefully built and maintained by Sarah and Ben within the business: “The long standing relationships we have with our consultants, suppliers and subcontractors, built on trust, respect and quality, ensure the success and enjoyment of the building process for everybody involved.” There is no team of consultants; rather, Ben and Sarah are hands-on and concentrate on a small number of projects at a time, allowing for an attentive, client-focussed service from consultation to completion, and resulting in grateful, enthusiastic clients. 

Specialising in local projects, the couple are deeply connected to the area and have completed residential, rural and coastal builds. They are also involved in a community project where, with each house they build, three mature, native trees from Matakana based nursery Takana are donated to community spaces. Through offering a simple design, price and build package, MyPad have filled a much-anticipated gap in the Mangawhai market, allowing elegant architectural design to be accessible to all.


Junction Mag