It’s our forever home,” says one of the grateful owners of this sophisticated Whāingaroa/Raglan abode, situated on a one-way road following the Waikato town’s water’s edge. The northern, ocean side of the street is dotted with proud pōhutukawa, while the southern side is lined with houses that, like this one, can see the sea beyond the trees.
The couple and their two children have owned the property since 2004, but it was only recently that they decided they wanted to move here to enjoy life in this charming village full-time. Their brief to architect Richard Priest was a house with a gabled roof, raked ceilings, maximum space and views, multiple indoor and outdoor living areas, three bedrooms and lots of storage.

ABOVE Charred Siberian larch clads the home’s exterior, making a strong statement from the street that sits well with the environment, while contrasting with the paler interior palette that includes walls in Resene White Pointer and Manor Classique Yacona engineered oak flooring from Forté. Beneath a Lito pendant light by Powersurge, the dining table by Wackrows Joinery with Tangerine chairs by Simon James for Resident is pushed up against the kitchen island to maximise this long, narrow, open-plan space, but can be reorientated as required. The Aiko sofa and cushions in the adjoining living zone are from Città.

“The concept is based on the fact that they wanted to make the most of the water view and sunshine,” says Richard. “At the same time, this is a fairly public road, so privacy was a major factor, as was retaining the feel and intimacy of a coastal bach. The use of the house follows the sun throughout the day and there are three distinct outside spaces integrated into life here.”

ABOVE Here, cabinetry in Manhattan oak timber veneer by VidaSpace, crafted by Rowson Kitchens, combines with benchtops and splashbacks in textured Dekton Liquid Shell by Cosentino. They’re accented by bursts of blackened brass that tie in with the exterior cladding, including a Lateral light by Powersurge, plus other noir additions, such as the Wrap stools by Tim Webber. The ability to comfortably entertain family and friends was a factor for this family, and Annika met this need not with a separate scullery but with a drinks nook that allows guests to be served without disrupting the chef, and a butler’s pantry that hides LED-lit floating shelves, a second sink and a Fisher & Paykel DishDrawer behind Hawa Concepta bifold pocket doors by Häfele.

The dwelling’s subtly weathering exterior of board-formed concrete and charred larch timber provides a nod to a traditional bach aesthetic, yet has a contemporary appeal. “It’s a beautiful, cohesive home with such a welcoming vibe,” says kitchen and interior designer Annika Rowson of Rowson Kitchens. “It’s not a huge house, but it just feels so right.”
With a carport and studio underneath, the single-level floorplan positions the kitchen, dining and main living area at the northernmost part of the site, where they enjoy a direct view of the water. They’re connected to a large deck that benefits from a generous eave that provides protection whatever the weather. In contrast, the secondary outdoor living space is more private, comprising a walled courtyard area partially lined with larch and covered with an adjustable louvre roof.

TOP For continuity, Rowson Kitchens made the TV and shelving unit in the living space from the same oak timber veneer they used in the kitchen. It has a tambour door that allows everything to be fully concealed when not in use, while the biofuel fire below it is encased in black Dekton Domoos by Cosentino to ensure it too recedes. Other special pieces in this zone include (from left) curtains by Heckford Interiors in fabric by Mokum, a Davis chair from Bradfords, a rug custom-made by Bremworth and an Anerigo coffee table by Cattelan Italia from Ultimate Living. ABOVE The same timbers used for the soffits and cladding outside continue into the entry foyer. A relatively compact spot, it’s enhanced by a generous picture window that leads the eye and lets in ample light.

Inside, the cathedral-like raked ceiling in the main living zone gives the home an impressive sense of space. When she met her clients on site for the first time, Annika says she was also immediately wowed by the view, “so I knew the kitchen design needed to be soft and natural to continue out into that environment.” Oak veneer was chosen for the cabinetry, complemented by benchtops in a surface Annika describes as having “a fossil-like effect. It’s an incredible texture that seemed fitting given the location.”
The central element in this space is a generous island with a dining table at one end, plus there’s a fully appointed butler’s pantry that’s designed to be used for food preparation and clean-up, and as a breakfast station. The entire scheme feels remarkably serene.

TOP This secondary outdoorliving space sees meals served at an extendable Columbia table from Urban & Beach, with Ariel chairs from Nood. ABOVE Surrounded by Villa Raven engineered oak by Forté on the walls, the media room includes (from left) a Valero chair by Coco Republic, a Deco ottoman from Kindred Road, another custom rug by Bremworth, tables from The Design Depot, a Bloom lamp by Tim Rundle for Resident from Simon James and a sofa tailor-made by Trenzseater. Annika aimed to make a statement in this area and really have some fun. “Structurally, everything in this house is straight-lined. It’s quite an unexpected detail when you walk through to see the circular skylight, so we played on its form and made everything in this room curved.”

For Annika, though, one of the ultimate spots in this house is the media room, which is illuminated by a tailored circular skylight. “The way the large window throws light is quite beautiful,” she says. “We custom-made a sofa to fit underneath it and the rug is custom as well — it was all about the curve.”

ABOVE A wall-mounted Exhaust light by Buster & Punch from ECC illuminates linens by Foxtrot Home in the main bedroom, where Villa Raven engineered oak by Forté on the headboard is capped with a strip of brass. This isn’t an overly large room, but like the rest of the house, thanks to the raked ceiling (and elsewhere, the skylights too), it feels like more than enough.

The material and colour palettes cohesively continue through the three bedrooms and into the bathrooms, where the vanities have been constructed from the same material as the kitchen benchtops and are full-formed, so they’re completely seamless. In the main bathroom, a bespoke bronze-framed shower with textured glazing is backlit from above by a roof window and seems to glow. This window is automated, so it can be opened and closed for ventilation as required.

TOP & ABOVE In the main bathroom, which features a roof window by Velux, a ledge was cleverly incorporated to supply visual interest, hold functional and decorative objects, and conceal plumbing. A mirror by Joska & Sons is lit by more Exhaust lights by Buster & Punch — this time in pendant form. The Buddy tapware by Progetto and Grab vertical heated towel rails by Avenir are all from Plumbline. West Coast Tiling flawlessly installed the luxurious large-format Urban Style Light tiles from European Ceramics. Annika enthuses that “of the many bathrooms we’ve designed, it was incredible — one of the best tiling jobs I’ve ever seen.”

“The design of this home is very well-considered,” says Annika. “It just feels so calm, inviting, comfortable, restful and gentle — much like a soothing hug.”
Meanwhile, the rapt homeowners recall that the best thing about building this home was having such an amazing team, including Annika and co at Rowson Kitchens, builders Fitzgerald & Gillard, tilers West Coast Tiling and Graeme Burton of Rukuhia Homestead Landscaping. “We’re so happy living here and wouldn’t change a thing.”  

Words Melanie McDaird
Photography Jono Parker 

 

 

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