At home in its environment, this low-lying residence is designed to allow enjoyment of the outdoors and sea views in any weather

The front of the home features extensive glazing. architecture, facade, home, house, real estate, gray
The front of the home features extensive glazing. This is predominantly to take advantage of the views, but also to suggest the idea that the house has been pared back by the elements.

Beachside living has many benefits, such as plenty of opportunities for walking and swimming. There may be the bonus of a spectacular outlook. But ocean views can also mean exposure to the elements.

With high winds and rain a possibility on the west-facing site, Craig & Coltart Architects designed this beach house with two outdoor areas, connected by a central living space. The homeowner's request for a modernist-style residence that would be at one with the sand dunes was also an influence, says Matt Coltart.

"The resulting design is low-lying and horizontal. The line of the roof and the front deck step down into the varying levels of the landscape. Bifolding doors on both sides of the living room connect the front deck with the lower and more sheltered entertaining area at the rear, which has an outdoor fireplace."

The open nature of the living space, made up of the kitchen, dining and family zones, makes it well ventilated in summer.

A solid central wall grounds this beach house, architecture, facade, home, house, property, real estate, residential area, sky, brown, white
A solid central wall grounds this beach house, which captures the horizontal look of early modernist design.

Natural materials were chosen for the interior spaces to reflect the environment, says the architect.

"Floors are a visually warm merbau, while the joinery is made from keruing ply. The homeowners requested we use schist in the home, to remind them of their journeys through Southern Otago, where it is prevalent. This was fulfilled by the creation of a tall fireplace."

The solid fireplace extends to the exterior of the house, where the chimney forms a prominent wall, and acts as a visual and structural anchor.

"The level of exposure faced by the front of the house was taken into account in its aesthetic design. While the rear courtyard has solid block-like forms, such as the tall outdoor fireplace, the front of the house is made up of glass and timber, to give the illusion that it has been eroded by the elements," says Coltart.

The sheltered eastern side of the house features home, outdoor structure, patio, real estate, table, orange
The sheltered eastern side of the house features a courtyard with furniture for alfresco dining.

The part of the living room containing the dining table is surrounded by glazing with clerestory windows, so the roof appears to float above them.

"The juxtaposition of the white window sills and roof, along with the timber, which has been stained to look like creosote, harks back to classic bach designs," says Coltart.

Craig & Coltart Architects was awarded a New Zealand Institute of Architects Resene Local Award for this house.

Credit list

Interior designer
Noela Austen-Smith
Kitchen manufacturer
A1 Joinery
Aesthetics Lighting
Heating system
Kitchen benchtops
Stainless steel
Kitchen sink
Welded in stainless steel
G&E Taylor Construction
Sto plaster on poly substrate, stained band-sawn cedar bevelback weatherboards
Doors and windows
Vantage by Wight Aluminium
Coloured glass
Integrated Fisher & Paykel rangehood
Outdoor heating
Firth pre-cast fireplace

Story by: Camille Butler

12 Sep, 2008

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