Story by John Williams
Photography by Jamie Cobel
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Perched high for views and privacy, this new home is comprised of two pavilions – one a social hub, the other a parental retreat
Most of us have a dream of where we'd like to retire – a bach by the beach, something more rural, perhaps somewhere overseas. For this expat New Zealand couple living in Sydney, that place was Central Otago. And, although retirement was some time off, they were planning ahead when they engaged architect Regan Johnston to design their home on the shores of Lake Wanaka.
"Coincidentally, they'd seen a house I'd designed in Trends and wanted something similar," says Johnston. "They liked the spaces, the feel and materials I'd used and also the quality of the home."
Their requirements were simple – create a comfortable home that took full advantage of the elevated lakeside site and could accommodate their family of three adult children at any one time, without impacting on the parents' use of the home.
"It was a large site, at approximately 3300m2. But because it forms the gateway to a large subdivision, we had to be very mindful of the design, both from the point of view of the other residents, and also the privacy of the owners," says Johnston.
Setting the house high up at the rear of the section gave his clients the privacy and views they wanted. This also mitigated its effect on the rest of the community.
The house comprises a pair of single-storey, conjoined pavilions – one containing the living space and guest rooms, the other the master suite and garaging.
"We skewed the rear pavilion to join the front pavilion, creating a triangular courtyard between that's protected from the prevailing winds that funnel off the lake in the summer months," says Johnston.
Entry to the home is at the point where the two pavilions meet – to the left is the master suite, to the right the living area and guest accommodation.
Turning into the living pavilion, you're greeted by a full-height picture window, flanked by schist walls, with views out over a reflection pond to the lake.
"We wanted the clients to feel they were on holiday from the moment they enter the house. As you come into the lobby space, it's very tranquil, what with the water and the earthy materials."
The other purpose of the reflection pond is to physically separate the public and private spaces in this part of the home. On one side, a wide gallery leads to three large guest bedrooms, all with lake views, plus a shared bathroom. On the other side, the space opens to a large, light-filled room, with floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides. This contains the living, dining and kitchen areas.
The material palette throughout the house has been kept simple, with concrete floors inside and out, schist feature walls and American white oak-lined ceilings.
"This material combination provides a grounded warmth and a sense of place," says Johnston.
One of the architect's favourite parts of the home is the cosy library nook, created where the two pavilions meet.
Apart from forming this niche, splaying the two pavilions also created the protected courtyard. This architectural move also pushed out the master bedroom wing, allowing it to gain its own view over the garden and to the lake beyond.
"In fact, every room enjoys a view. When you've got a large site with a fantastic aspect, it makes sense to maximise the outlooks," the architect says. "As a result the house is essentially just one room deep all the way through."
Views need windows, and with this home that equates to a lot of glazing. To mitigate solar gain, the architect topped each pavilion with a large skillion roof.
The overhangs provide the deep eaves necessary to protect the home from the harsh summer sun, yet admit low winter light that passively heats the concrete floors. Operable clerestory windows at the rear of the pavilions let in the late afternoon sun and provide passive ventilation.
Other environmental touches include a vented roof cavity to avoid condensation build-up, often an issue for homes in cool climes. A high level of insulation and high performance glazing were also specified.
Another plus is the home's thermally separated floor slab with hydronic heating that can be controlled remotely.
First published date: 19 July 2016
|Architect and kitchen designer||Regan Johnston (formerly of Mason & Wales Architects)|
|Builder||Mark Duffy Builders|
|Window/door joinery||Vistalite Aluminium|
|Kitchen manufacturer||Joinery Specialists|
|Cabinetry||MDF, Mirotone finish, by Joinery Specialists|
|Oven, hob, refrigerator||Fisher & Paykel, from Selectrix, Wanaka|
|Ventilation||Schweigen, from Selectrix, Wanaka|
|Furniture and blinds||McKenzie & Willis, Wanaka|
|Speakers and control systems||Selectrix, Wanaka|
|Outdoor furniture||McKenzie & Willis, Wanaka|
|Barbecue||DCS Grill, from Selectrix, Wanaka|