Builder:Owens Building Ltd
Photography: Mickey Ross
An elegant fortress, this Wānaka dwelling uses minimal materials and fine-lined detail to give it a strong-yet-subtle presence in its suburban context.
The house is made up of two volumes – one a garage and office, the other the main home – set around an internal courtyard and decking. These spaces in between are as celebrated as the buildings themselves.
Designed for a builder, who values clarity, the emphasis was on a practical programme for a work-from home experience and on crisp-edge detailing with nothing extraneous.
From the street, a wall of concrete bricks skirts the perimeter and two gently sloping volumes, clad in vertical cedar, peek above it to the sky. There is a balance of mass and lightness, retreat and release.
Entry is through a pair of mild steel doors and across a pebbled courtyard with a water feature, a gentle, calm design journey that continues in the interiors where ceilings lined in oak veneer wrap down as a bulkhead to a datum line that is an echo of the perimeter wall. They provide texture, warmth and human scale within the living zone.
The kitchen is an object in black expressed through the horizontal. A long peninsula bench is delicately outlined in stainless steel and the cabinetry on the back wall travels the length of the room to transition into a window seat with a view of the mountains.
Direct access to the courtyard and decks from the kitchen, dining and living areas, gives this three-bedroom house a real connection to place, but it’s equally enclosed for privacy and shielded from visual noise within this built-up neighbourhood.
With high performance in terms of thermal efficiency – overhangs to the north; clerestories to the south – it is equally engineered for shade and shelter, warmth and comfort. An essential machine for living in. No more, no less.