It's easy to see the potential of a site on the water's edge, but such properties are few and far between. Most of us are likely to find ourselves a block or two back from the beach.
Designer Jason Saunders of Arc Seven 1 was asked to design a new home for a couple with two adult children. They had lived in the area for many years and felt it was time to downsize the family home and retire. The block has a north-south orientation, the ocean is to the west, other views are northwards, and prevailing winds blow in from the south-west. Additionally, Saunders says he needed a design that reduced the impact of the hot afternoon sun, so glazing on the western side of the house had to be limited, but without restricting views.
After taking these factors into account, Saunders has designed a three-storey house with living areas on the upper two levels, and with internal and external spaces flowing smoothly from one to the other. Every room either looks out over the ocean, or enjoys a more intimate view of a garden, internal courtyard, pond or balcony.
To make the most of the views, the main open-plan living, dining and kitchen area is on the top floor, and flows out to a large, covered balcony. A ceiling height of 2.4m in the combined kitchen and dining area creates an intimate atmosphere for this space, while a generous 4m-high ceiling in the living area gives it a feeling of airiness and volume.
The master suite is also on this level so the owners can enjoy the ocean views from the bedroom. The bathroom looks out onto its own private roof garden, and the open-plan layout allows for a distant view of the sea.
To keep the house cool, the design provides for minimal glazing on the western wall, while wide overhanging eaves shade the living areas. Extra light is brought into the kitchen and dining areas via a long, narrow roof window in the centre of the house, and through clerestory windows on three sides of the living room.