A new home near the sea considers the future of its family and the planet with a versatile layout and sustainable practices built in

Designed by Wulf Borrmeister,  Borrmeister Architects

From the architects:  


Situated on an enviable prominent suburban corner site within walking distance to Sumner beach the owners were keen to rebuild on their existing site – the decision was made to remove their existing family dwelling (which would have required considerable remediation to convert into a healthy home) to accommodate the new house. 

The site runs EW and the house follows this orientation facing north enjoying all day sun. 

Roof overhangs and sliding screens provide flexible sun control as well as much needed privacy. 

Hill views to the east are captured by the upper rooms and from the western wing. 

Seamless transition from inside to out was achieved for this beachside home with ample opportunity for outdoor living while extending architectural features provide shelter and frame views. 

Generous roof overhangs, an extensive colonnade accommodating timber sliding screens and a central courtyard with an outdoor fire blur the boundary between house and landscape as well as passively working to provide the home comfort for all seasons. 

The cladding is subtle and pared back with the house clad predominantly in whitewashed Macrocarpa – appropriately reminiscent of beachside driftwood and delivering a relaxing chill beachside atmosphere. 

The owners' brief also included a requirement for catering to their lifestyle transition when their grown children move away from home. 

Hence, flexibility was paramount with separate wings for main and secondary sleeping areas at opposite ends of the house.


An holistic approach to an energy efficient and sustainable home was taken – the floor plan accommodates two main separate bedroom wings, the secondary first floor bedroom areas are able to be effectively closed off when not in use, allowing the house flexibility around a fluctuating number of occupants. 

The house is orientated north with the majority of rooms facing all day sun, supporting solar gain and natural cross ventilation with opening high level windows and skylights. 

Shading from the sun and protection from the weather is provided by roof overhangs and sliding screens designed to respond to the local daily sun path. 

Solar panels and efficient heating via heat pump and hot water in-slab heating with exposed concrete floor in the main living area functioning as a thermal mass keep the house well heated. 

The house also has high levels of insulation, thermally broken windows and door joinery with high-performance glass, low maintenance materials, FSC certified timbers, low VOC environmentally friendly paints and finishes, energy efficient lighting and allowance in the garage for a future electrical vehicle charging station. 

Fruit trees and vegetable gardens were part of the design from the outset and were driven by both architects and owners as an essential component for future proofing the home and lifestyle. This area of the garden is along the street front and is able to be enjoyed by passers by.

Credit list

Kitchen design
Ingrid Geldof Design
Interior design/joinery
Ingrid Geldof Design – kitchen, ensuite & study joinery
Pioneer Pools
Dimond Styleline Metal Profile
Main floor
Polished concrete
Bathroom tiles
General heating
In-slab heating, by WarmthNZ
Feature lighting
Accent Lighting
Chris Beer Architectural Builders
Kitchen manufacturer
Sydenham Joinery
Nick Rouse
Macrocarpa timber, from Timbers of NZ
Window/door joinery
Pacific Thermal Suite, by Fletcher Window & Door Systems
Bedroom flooring
Solid elm, T&G, from Timbers of NZ
All Resene – Barely There & 1/2 Barely There (generally walls, ceilings, doors); 1/8 Tapa (bedroom 1 & 2 walls), Boat Harbour (bedroom 3 walls), Clouded Blue (bedroom 4 walls), Twisted Sister (garage study area), Matter of Fact (link), Millbrook (link), 1/2 Duck Egg (first floor bathroom walls), Leap Frog (entry door)
Escea DS1150 series, indoor, gas
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) Homes – Highly Commended

Designed by: Borrmeister Architects

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Scott Thorp

28 May, 2023

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