Authentic design for authentic experiences

Macfarlane Design is a family run interior architecture and design studio based in Auckland.  We design residential and commercial interiors in buildings from all eras.  Focussing on the context of how the space is used, its site and location, we create spaces that are relevant and appealing today and durable into the future. 
We strive to bring a timeless authenticity to our projects by paying close attention to and enhancing existing characteristics. By subtly contemporising them with appropriate new elements we bring about the most effective and memorable result for you, the client.

No Ōtautahi au, e noho ana au kei Waihorotiu naianei. He kaihoahoa au.


Here are a few options to help you take the first steps with your project. 

Our latest video on conscious design

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Dream Team Directory

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Project Planning Pack

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Project Analysis

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Robert Macfarlane BDes, BArch, PDINZ

Mother and son team Robert and Trish have been collaborating since 2010.  Robert has a Bachelor of Design in interior architecture from the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, and a Bachelor of Architecture from the Unitec New Zealand, and is a Professional member of the Designers’ Institute of New Zealand.

 Robert has built a strong portfolio of residential and commerical interior work. His design philosophy is centred around a process of close consultation to understand your needs and ideas, while bringing his own expertise and experience to bear. 

Patricia Marryatt, Business Development Manager

Trish worked in the wool and fashion industry for more than twenty years and over this time developed a great sense for colour, texture and proportion. She brings this wealth of knowledge to the building and renovation process through her work for clients and her own projects. 

Trish and Robert have worked together on residential and commercial projects for a decade and complement each other’s working styles.


1950s Grey Lynn home

The client requested we enhance and restore his 1950s kitchen, staying faithful  to its remaining original features but innovating for modern convenience.

Gulliver car showroom I

The Japanese car giant enlisted us to help for their first Auckland showroom by localising their style to create a showroom for their vehicles.

Vinegar Lane apartment

This client asked for  modern textures to complement a unique apartment. We used a simple material and colour palette against the existing concrete backdrop.

1970s Merivale townhouse

The 1970s warmth of this house was the start point for the homeowner  who wanted to revive the essence of her home and maximise limited space. 

MSocial guest & conference

The team at MSocial asked us to help with some spaces to complement their new fresh feel for the launch of the first New Zealand edition of this hotel brand under the Millennium badge. 

Gulliver car showroom II

Gulliver requested our help to convert an old furniture warehouse, including a nod to the site’s history and creating an exhibition dedicated to  motoring in New Zealand.

1920s Pt Chevalier bungalow

Enhancing a charming bungalow while keeping its character and creating specific zones to track the sun through the space was key here.

Sushi Train restaurant

The popular sushi franchise sought our help to create a fresh space around their new conveyor while avoiding tired cliches around Japanese food.

What our clients say

“— Robert has delivered to my briefs effectively, and any variations in cost or budget have been raised early with options on how to move forward. One thing I really like about working with Robert is his sensitivity to history and context. My townhouse was built in the 1950s and Robert has always come up with solutions which deliver to modern living requirements but are in keeping with the ethos of the house.”

MB, Grey Lynn
residential client

“— Robert delivers on time and does not overpromise. He bills for his work on time and as per the schedule and quotations/estimates. He sees the projects through to their end and follows up after the completion. Robert conducts himself very professionally. He is very approachable and transparent and it is easy to follow through each stage. We hold Robert in very high regard and would not consider using anyone else for our design.”

PK, Wairau Valley
Commercial client

The Campaign for Wool 

We are proud members of the Campaign for Wool and enjoy using wool for all its excellent properties and durability.  Commercial or residential, there is often a wool answer.  Not only is it hardwearing and often local, wool  breathes and has a light carbon footprint.

Encouraging collaboration between a community of woolgrowers, fashion designers, manufacturers, artisans and interior designers, the Campaign has been instrumental in educating consumers about the versatility of wool, and reconnecting them with its myriad of uses; from luxurious fine merino knitwear and cloth through to beautiful hardwearing interior products to fire-retardant insulation for the home.

About the Campaign

Our Story

our KAUPAPA is to acknowledge the past and enhance it for the future

John Edward Hurdley

Robert’s great-great-grandfather John Edward Hurdley owned galleries in Timaru and Christchurch in which he sold imported silk and wool carpets from Japan and India, English pottery and tapestries as well as brassware and art.  

Robert and Trish design spaces and source items and materials following in the same principles as John Edward did, based on craftsmanship, quality and durability.  The texture, patina and enduring nature of many of these pieces held within the family still provide enjoyment today. They exemplify the principles of sustainability that are currently very relevant. 

Martha Higgs

Design continued in the family with Trish’s mother Martha directing her own interior design business, Marlans, in Christchurch in the 1930s until the start of the war. 

Martha was a product of the Canterbury College of Art and undertook design work first under the guiding eye of her grandfather, John Edward Hurdley.  And, in turn, both Robert and Trish were influenced by the principles of design under Martha. Inspired by the work of his grandmother and her family, Robert studied design and brings all those influences into his own work in a contemporary and innovative manner.

Trish & Ian Macfarlane

Robert’s late father, Ian, spent his working life surrounded by wool. He and Trish created their own knitwear label designing garments for the tourist and fashion industry.

Trish was then involved in couture fashion, using her skill in texture, pattern and form, for some time before bringing her knowledge to collaborate with Robert, who had by then completed his own design education majoring in spatial design and architecture. They continue with their commitment to wool today, incorporating it into their design work as a component along with other new and creative techniques in the wider field of interior architecture. 

Areas of design

We undertake both residential and commercial interior projects, including kitchens, bathrooms, character homes of any age, restaurants and cafes, showrooms and hotel design. With Auckland City area as our base we also undertake projects in Christchurch and further afield.  Whether reviving interior spaces inside older buildings or designing new interiors from scratch, we believe site and location are often the starting point in the overall design outcome.

By keeping up to date with current design practices and innovations through ongoing professional development and networking in New Zealand and overseas, we ensure the best design outcomes. 

Conscious design 

We look at emerging approaches to new, impact conscious products and their growing influence on design. Refurbishing existing pieces and specifying quality, durable new products made of low footprint, sustainable materials is our preferred mode and gives rise to an exciting new aesthetic. We are committed to keeping this conversation open and constantly seeking out better approaches— and updating ourselves about the post-lockdown world that is emerging around us now at Level 1.

We carry this stance into our business practices. From small office activity to transportation, we look for the greenest choices.  We are members of the Zilch electric car share scheme and are investigating ways to further reduce our carbon footprint. 

The client experience

Establishing  a close basis for consultation with our clients in order to get the best result in our project work forms our approach to design. Drawing on the example of John Edward, Martha and Ian, we foster a strong relationship ethos to achieve a quality finish that lasts. Staying in touch with clients throughout the design process allows us to be informed about which practices work best and how our work endures. It often results in new friendships too.

Keeping in close contact with our preferred suppliers, talented fabricators and tradespeople is also a key aspect of this approach. We take these connections seriously in order to achieve quality outcomes.


Robert spent four years living in Japan and maintains an active interest in Japanese design. He works closely with the local Japanese design community in Auckland and is a member of the Japan New Zealand Business Council. Robert speaks Japanese fluently (Level 1 JLPT). Trish has also visited Japan numerous times and follows the design trends of this design conscious nation.

私はロバート・マクファーレンと申します。大学でデザインと建築を学び、その後、約10年間 マクファーレンデザインを運営している空間デザイナーです。

東京に4年間住んだ経験を活かし、オークランドの日系企業の改装も手掛けました。 また、日本ニュージーランド経済委員会のメンバーで、日本語能力試験一級を取得しており日本語を話せます。一緒に仕事をする母のパトリシアも日本を何度も訪れており、デザインに敏感な日本の最新の流行をよく理解しています。 私の家族は高祖父ジョン・エドワードが百貨店を経営し、日本 、イギリス、インドから陶磁器や家具の輸入販売をしていました。その伝統を今に受け継いでいます。ジョン・エドワードの孫のマーサ(私の祖母、パトリシアの母)もインテリアの店を経営し、家族に大きく影響を与えました。亡父のイアンと母のパトリシアは羊毛産業に携わっていました。マクファーレンデザインはインテリアにニュージーランドの高品質の羊毛をなるべく使うように心掛けています。

もしご自宅やお店、会社の改装など ご相談いただければ日本語で対応出来ますのでお気軽にご連絡ください。お待ちしております。

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