Denis and Liz have owned this property for 25 years; a delightful rural and bush setting on the western most point of the Tararua Ranges. Originally much of the site was covered in scrub and blackberry plants, and over the years they have worked tirelessly to restore the land and prepare it for their home. Their dream home would be situated here, on a plateau that basks in 360° scenic views: mountains to the East, moving around to expansive Horowhenua farmland and coastal panoramas encompassing Wellington, Kapiti, and all the way up to Taranaki.
The project brief was: a unique, modern, healthy and efficient family home that would take full advantage of its surrounding environment and complement the landscape.
While visiting the site, Denis asked me to quickly sketch something that would inspire him, and give him the confidence to engage my services. I drew a sweeping curve from the east around the north to the west, with arrows pointing to the views and tracking the path of the sun, and then added a box intersecting the curve pushing into the bush to the West and continuing through the West as a bedroom wing. He loved the concept, and his enthusiasm captivated Liz too. This established the form from which I developed the design to create living areas, viewing platforms and intimate spaces.
At the entry gate, a gorgeous winding driveway through the native vegetation leads to the contemporary home. From the southern welcoming arrival point, the circulation flows seamlessly between the distinctive sequence of spaces forming the entry, living areas and the bedrooms. The layout comprises of larger volumes of north‐facing spaces for family living that encapsulate the spectacular views, a quiet living space that nestles gently into the bush, and a bedroom wing that likewise takes full advantage of the sun and the views.
A feature timber staircase leads to the master suite above. The office along the landing overlooks the Family room and leads to the Bedroom with a private deck and a terrace which both feature spectacular scenery whilst nestling into the bush. The bath in the Ensuite enjoys a private view to the ranges and native vegetation.
The clients' desire to have a warm, healthy, efficient home guided the choice of additional thickness insulation to the walls (with thicker framing) and ceiling, the best double‐glazed aluminium windows on the market, and a heavily insulated slab. An in‐slab solar powered hydronic system linked to the hot water supply provides a heating solution while a wood burner radiates ambient heat. Rainwater is collected in a storage tank and is coupled with an on‐site bore for domestic water supply and irrigation purposes. An aerated treatment system manages all the waste water with a drip‐line restoring nutrients to the land.
A subtle material palette was selected, to allow the wonderful site to stand out. Elements of stone and blockwork give a solid structural grounding to the south entry, complemented by glazing on the northern aspects for the sun and outlook. The use of plywood ceilings, and locally sourced macrocarpa stair, doors and trim adds a warm contrast to the neutral colour scheme.
“ When planning the build of our new house, we contacted several building companies and found the best they could offer was to drop a predesigned plan onto our section.
That lead us to contact Peter. One visit to site and two lines drawn on paper (a graceful curve tacking the sun and views intersected by a line to the bush) and we could see that he was listening to our vision.
His final design incorporated all of our requests and fulfilled every part of our brief.
The end result was a warm, energy efficient, sunlit, spacious home with the enormous wow factor.
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