He wanted a contemporary house with simple detailing, she wanted an informal beach house on the water – both desires were met in this relaxed, light-filled residence where material connections and views to the water are around every corner

Designed by architect Richard Dalman of Dalman Architects

From the architect:

I wanted a contemporary house with simple detailing, and my wife, Marion, wanted an informal beach house on the water. Together, we have created a contemporary waterfront home that meets all our requirements.

There is a narrow 7.5m frontage to the road and the site gets wider toward the water with the boundary actually in the Estuary.

Because of perceived potential flooding from the hills and sea level rise, the council required that the floor level of the house be 1300mm above the ground.

While this is a long, narrow house due to the site constraints, there are two distinct cut-outs; a service court combined with a third vehicle park, and a central courtyard that is a sunny retreat from the prevailing Christchurch easterly wind.

The angled walls throughout the house are inspired by the different boundary angles, and these change as the house progresses and opens up through the site to the water.

To get from one end of the house to the other a long corridor was required, and here the width has been increased to form a gallery that creates a journey, with two main openings affording different views along the way, and space for a sunny sitting area.

At the end of the gallery is an atrium space that turns a corner to reveal 180-degree water views from the kitchen, dining and living area. One window is the largest double-glazed unit produced in Christchurch for a residence, and meets the architect/owner’s requirement for a lack of mullions and transoms to provide an undistracted view.

Marion’s love of water meant this needed to be the main focus of the house and this has been achieved. Even in her study there is a carefully framed view across the courtyard and through the large glass windows of the living area out to the Estuary. Despite the water focus, there are still views up to the hills behind from well-placed windows.

Materials for the house have been selected to provide a seaside aesthetic, such as aqua glass tiles to the bathrooms that shimmer like paua shells, granite vanity tops with a tidal pattern, and floor tiles that look like a stony beach and a sandy beach respectively. Oak floors, stairs and joinery complete the light, informal look. 

Materials are durable for the seaside location, utilising colour coated aluminium roofing, painted cedar vertical boards, powder-coated aluminium joinery, and stainless-steel fittings.

While a glass balustrade was obvious for the deck/pier because of its height above the water, we didn't want to have a balustrade to the sea at the lower level. Instead, a two-tier seawall was designed and constructed to provide acceptable safety from falling solutions, with an exposed aggregate face to the water.

A clean simple roofline has been achieved despite the two different first floor levels.

Credit list

Lewis Bradford
Kitchen manufacturer
Billygoat Landscape Architecture
ColorCote Alumi Gard
Main flooring
Bremworth carpet; ReadyFlor White Oak by Floorscape
Exterior – Resene Alabaster; interior – Resene Black White; front door – Resene Endorphin
Gas fire by Escea Fires
Control systems
Security Matters
Clive Barrington Construction
Kitchen designer
Dalman Architects
Interior designer
Dalman Architects
Cedar, by Rosenfeld Kidson
Window/door joinery
Rylock Pacific Suite Pro 52 Thermal
Bathroom tiles
General heating
Heat pumps – Mitsubishi; wall panel heaters – Noirot
Feature lighting
Lighthouse Lighting
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) Homes – Highly Commended

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Stephen Goodenough

30 May, 2021

Home kitchen bathroom commercial design

Latest Post

01 Oct, 2023

01 Oct, 2023

01 Oct, 2023

We know the Specialists

Related Book


Fancy a twinkling mosaic pool that laps up to your dramatic outdoor space? One of our featured new homes in this edition...

Read More

Similar Stories