Builder: Davidson Building Ltd
Photography: Simon Devitt
Vivid views and a vicious wind were the natural sculptors of this dwelling that is both open to engagement but simultaneously turns its back to the biting breeze.
The owners had occupied this special place on the shores of Lake Hāwea for 30 years but the old bach that stood braced against the elements was no longer fit for purpose. They wanted comfort and connection.
A pair of pavilions – one for living, one for sleeping – were offset on the long, rectangular site, sliding past each other to set up two outdoor rooms in the lee of the buildings. The lakeside courtyard to the north is shielded from public view by the position of the garage. To the rear, in the second courtyard, a vegetable garden thrives as vigorously as humans in this sheltered spot.
Hardy materials are a tonal tribute to the mountainous landscape. The fluted concrete-block base is a textural anchor that cedes into the gravelly ground. A fine red trim defines it from the vertical cedar and dark corrugated cladding above and, ultimately, Cola-red soffits take up the cheerful cause.
The fluted block wraps into the entry where a sliding door opens directly into the kitchen – a device which sets up a programme with a casual core, reflecting the relaxed nature of holiday gatherings. Friends congregate around the kitchen island: the outlook across a scenic vista of the lake is a wild counterpoint to the structured environment of the patio and potager seen on the other side. Here, crazy paving using flat schist is a mid-century moment amidst the contemporary scheme. It echoes of family history.
The bedroom wing, a few steps up from the public spaces, follows the gentle slope of the section. In the main suite, a window seat with cracker views is reason enough to linger longer away from the fray.