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Like being on holiday all year round

With extensive harbour views from nearly every room and an infinity edge clifftop, you'd never want to leave this home

From the architect: Brian Cullen, Paterson Cullen Archaus Architects

The site is elevated above Tamaki Drive in Auckland's eastern suburbs with extensive 200° views from St Heliers Bay in the east and Mission Bay in the West. Two sites were aggregated to provide a comprehensive development in a character zone in the Auckland Council Legacy District Plan.

A three-level apartment building was located on a steeply sloping site on the west and the house on an undulating site to the east. Due to the steepness of the western property garaging for the apartments and the house was provided beneath the residence and the northern landscape area.

The house was essentially a single level dwelling for an "empty nester" couple and comprised three bedrooms and bathrooms, and a kitchen /living/ family room, with ancillary rooms for an office and art studio.

The residence stretches across the site with all the main rooms facing north and towards the northerly harbour view. A port cochere and guest parking is located on the south side with extensive level landscaping and swimming pool to the north of the house. A restrictive height covenant necessitated a flat roof form to ensure the floor level was raised to a level which would maximise the northerly views.


The design principles indicated, a contemporary style with a high stud height with full height aluminium joinery terminating at ceiling level to maximise the sun, daylight and views. Deep cantilevered eaves with concealed guttering, featuring a radiused fascia were incorporated to protect the rooms from summer sun and reflected glare.

While the northern face of the building is continuous glazing incorporating sliding doors to the terrace, the south elevation is more closed with smaller windows provided for the service rooms. The mass of solid walls indicated a requirement for a refined, crisp cladding material of honed natural stone panels emphasising a simple colour palette of greys and charcoal.

The house is fully automated with lighting, underfloor gray
The house is fully automated with lighting, underfloor heating, ducted air conditioning, sound system and security.

From the interior designer: Jennie Dunlop, Dunlop Design

Securing a cliff top site overlooking Pipimea Head was for my clients the beginning of a three year journey to execute the building of their dream home.

Brian Cullen’s sleek single level design including a cliff edge pool with infinity edge overlooking the Waitemata Harbour lends the home the feeling of being on holiday all year round.

The interior design brief

With my clients relocating from a large traditionally designed family home moving to a single level contemporary one was life changing.

The interior layout including indoor/ outdoor flow to the large paved entertainment area and pool needed to accommodate family and friends on a regular basis and be designed with a relaxed luxe resort vibe.

The design and solutions

Although the spaces were already generous in size, the decision was made to open the space up further by deleting the formal living room wall with slider.

The removal of the wall allowed the fireplace detailed with quartz granite, timber shelving lit with  LED to become the focal point from anywhere within the main living space.

Entering through the full height double doors, the new 10-seater dining table with a bespoke chandelier takes centre stage in space originally allocated for casual seating between the living, kitchen and scullery.

With the kitchen able to be viewed from all angles it was important that it blended into the open plan space.

The combination of textured lacquered oak, smoked dark stained oak, soft toned honed quartz benchtops and fully integrated appliances created softness.The 3-zoned kitchen areas are designed to accommodate several people working in the space at once with enough appliance options for catering services when required. The generous scullery with its own appliances keeps the front of house pristine when entertaining.

The kitchen Island with a raised waterfall block end, incorporating bar stools, elegant suspended lights and concealed LED overlooks the seating area where the owners can enjoy a morning coffee viewing  the ever changing harbour.

For continuity all the open plan spaces are laid with smoked oak flooring. To designate the entry foyer, main living space and casual seating each have a hand finished rug to anchor the furniture and soften the look.

The separate TV Living space beyond the fireplace is carpeted and incorporates a bespoke office desk.

As with the kitchen, the rear of the desk is finished with a black mirror running the full width reflecting the view of the Gulf when seated.

The walls throughout are painted in a neutral shade with crisp pure white ceilings as a backdrop to the design and furnishings selected. Additional walls feature wallcoverings to add a point of difference.

The master suite is positioned at the eastern end capturing the morning sun in the bedroom and large ensuite bathroom.

So as not to impede the water view, the TV is housed within the ceiling when not in use.

The guest bathroom is conveniently situated near the Living and next to the bedroom which accommodates the grandchildren when they visit.

At the western end there are two additional guest bedrooms with ensuites.

The laundry positioned on the south side has direct access to the outdoors.

The exterior dining table and chairs are white to minimise detracting from the view from inside. The large table sits under the extended roof line with glazed section adjacent to the indoor dining table creating a T-shape.

The house is fully automated with lighting, underfloor heating, ducted air conditioning, sound system and security.

Downstairs underground there is generous garaging,  art room, gym with sauna and shower room, all serviced by both stairs and lift.

Story by: New Zealand TIDA Homes

Photography by: Jamie Cobel

19 Jan, 2020

For more than 30 years, Trends has promoted great home design ideas through its print, digital and online media.The Trends International Design Awards – TIDAs – take that involvement to the next level with the search for the best kitchens, bathrooms and homes across a number of the countries where Trends has a presence.


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