Contemporary living meets a cottage look in this new home

Modern and spacious inside, this home pays homage to the local historic cottage aesthetic on the outside – a traditional mono pitch roof, the use of local schist stone and dark-stained cedar all play their strategic part

​​​​​​​This spacious, modern home by Koia Architects offers architecture, building, cottage, home, house, landscape, roof, Koia Architects, cottage look
​​​​​​​This spacious, modern home by Koia Architects offers an unmistakable nod to the modest, rustic early cottages that the surrounding area is known for. Cars are kept out of sight in the lower level garage, while a structural support conceals internal drain piping in the modern-meets-cottage-look home.

So what are your leading requirements when embarking on a new home build? Spacious, practical interiors seem one likely ask, and an honest response to the area and its history might be another? If you throw in sustainable living, then this home might well be your dream home.

Elevated above the Hills Golf Course in Arrowtown, this contemporary home, designed by architect Tony Koia, pays generous homage to the modest early cottages synonymous with the area – with a simple gabled form, chimney and lean-to roof.

Here, the iconic southern cottage form is interpreted in natural materials with slate-like cladding, dark stained cedar, metalwork and the use of local schist, says Koia.

“Even the chimney is expressed externally at the end of the living room, another nod to the classic cottage aesthetic.”

​​​​​​​On this Arrowtown home, substantial bifold doors let home, architecture, design, floor, furniture, home, house, interior design, living room, table, wall, Koia Architects, Bifold doors
​​​​​​​On this Arrowtown home, substantial bifold doors let the entertainment zone flow out to sheltered al fresco dining.

The home’s split level configuration allows the garaging to be tucked below street level – avoiding cars detracting from the cottage look – with two large master bedrooms directly above.

“The main living-entertainment floor is on a mid level, located between these levels to provide an elevated view over a busy street, which in this quiet, picturesque town is a relative term,” says Koia. 

“There’s also a large bunk room perfect for children downstairs – ideally setting the home up for two holidaying families, with parent couples having their own spaces and the children also in their own domain.”

While achieving an easy sense of spaciousness, the house is actually contained within a fairly modest footprint. However, the architect made use of every square metre of the site, including maximising indoor-outdoor opportunities via a series of courtyards and open spaces.

The home’s split-level design means you  only have a few steps from the garage up to the living spaces, and from the living spaces it’s only a short flight up to the bedrooms.

“This house really is set up for social living, with the outlooks naturally a star attraction,” says Koia. 

“While views to the countryside at the front are uninterrupted by the street below, at the rear, the generous-sized living area opens up to a courtyard with a garden wall and built-in fire finished in stone. This sheltered area is served with an outdoor dining setting."

​​​​​​​This home’s mono pitch roof is another connection House, home, roof, landscaping, Koia Architects,
​​​​​​​This home’s mono pitch roof is another connection to the traditional cottages or lean-to’s Arrowtown is known for.

The pale decor in the living area intentionally takes back seat to the views, while a stone tile feature wall with built-in fireplace and shelving helps anchor the home. And while the rear of the kitchen has a slate-look splashback and dark timber tones, the island is gleaming white and trained on the scenery.

Although the outlook straight ahead seems to go on forever, there are some near neighbours. Luckily, or rather by finely considered design, this house makes great use of selective sightlines. 

So while one end of the home is largely finished in glass, the other end – close to the neighbours – has a slatted external element that effectively screens them from sight.

Utilising good passive solar principles, high insulation and underfloor heating, this home captures the sun at the right time of day, while reducing sunlight during the hottest part of the afternoon in summer. 

Strategic use of solid wall planes, clerestory windows and external shades all play a part in this solar control.

Overall, the house is designed as an Earth-friendly sustainable home, with a focus on low maintenance products and whole of life costs.

Credit list

Tony Koia, Koia Architects
KM Smith Builder
Katie Deans Landscape Design
Eurotray Colorsteel
Kitchen cabinetry
Oak veneer, stained
Kitchen flooring
Oak timber by Peak Floor Trades
Kitchen blinds
Luxaflex automated blinds, from McKenzie & Willis
Kitchen sink
Mercer Stainless Steel
Oven, cooktop, refrigeration, water dispensers
Fisher & Paykel
Aluminium Advantage S
Control systems
Strawberry Sound
Interior design
Stuart Bateman, SB Design
Kitchen design and manufacture
Coronet Woodware
Southern Spas
Cedar, from Rosenfeld and Kidson
Kitchen wall tiles and splashback
Porcelain, La Roche, grey
Kitchen lighting
Contemporaneo range, from Ambience Systems
Main flooring
Haro Flooring
Concealed heatpump, by Central Heating Solutions
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) Homes – Highly Commended

Story by: Charles Moxham

Photography by: Jamie Cobel

21 Sep, 2019

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