Pacific flavour

From its bure-style roof and lanai to its wood shutters and exposed beams, this beach house echoes the simplicity of many tropical resorts

Exterior view of bach which features a shingle architecture, cottage, elevation, estate, facade, home, house, property, real estate, residential area, sky, villa, blue
Exterior view of bach which features a shingle roof, cedar cladding, doors and windows, landscaping.

Great holidays are all about escape, so it's not surprising to see a beach house designed to capture the very essence of a tropical vacation.

This new holiday home at Omaha, north of Auckland, has a distinct Pacific Rim flavour a look that was inspired by the owners' holidays overseas.

The couple say they wanted their house to be a little different from the typical flat-roofed holiday homes that dominate a large part of this small seaside village.

"We wanted a very relaxed, open house that was more like a mini resort," says one of the owners. "We envisaged a lanai entrance, much like a hotel veranda, that would be casual and welcoming. We also wanted a variety of living spaces and seating areas."

Architectural designer Martin Harnish says strict local planning regulations determined the distances to the boundaries and the maximum height, so the house was effectively designed from the roof down.

View of the deck with outdoor fireplace, decking, fireplace, hearth, black, gray
View of the deck with outdoor fireplace, decking, roofing.

"A pitched roof was essential, but so too was an airy interior and high ceiling."

To provide the required aesthetics, the house was designed in a similar way to a cluster of homes in a small village. Two tower elements with corrugated iron roofs are separated by a flat connecting volume and the steeper pitch of the cedar shingle roof above the lanai.

Concealed gutters and angled, stepped fascias enhance the roof line and ensure the look is in keeping with the Pacific resort theme. Similarly, the exposed macrocarpa beams and columns, cedar battens and ply lining of the lanai roof evoke the sense of a traditional Fijian thatched-roof bure. The flat parts of the roof are covered with inset pebbles and shells that enhance the coastal setting and soften the view for those looking out of the top-floor windows.

Beyond the lanai, the entrance soars to provide a gallery dining space with a 4.5m-high ceiling. Skylights above the bifold doors and clerestory windows on two sides ensure the space receives plenty of natural light.

The interior is also defined by white-painted walls and dark-stained cedar joinery. Shutters open up the family room to the lanai, providing a vital visual link and a servery.

View of an outdoor shower, decking, shower fittings. architecture, daylighting, handrail, house, stairs, structure, wood, white
View of an outdoor shower, decking, shower fittings.

"The white walls are cool but also enveloping," says the owner.

When all the doors and windows are open, the ground floor effectively becomes one large room, and the interior blends into the outdoors.

In addition to glass sliders, the designer provided sliding fixed-louvre shutters. As well as ensuring privacy and security, these also provide natural ventilation.

To contrast the dark-stained cedar joinery, the informal galley-style kitchen features teak veneer cabinets and a bright green wall that provides a strong visual link to the outdoors.

In keeping with the resort look, the master suite on the second floor is a private sanctuary. A painted tongue-and-groove ceiling provides a more refined version of a bure. Other Pacific influences include large wooden shutters, a freestanding, sculptural stone tub and a glass-walled ensuite bathroom.

Credit list

Interior designer
Owner, with Bridget Hanley,
Landscaping supplies
Trendsetter Plants
Cedar batten
Window and door hardware
North City Joinery
Teak veneer
Grant Sutherland
Kitchen designer
Morgan Cronin, Cronin Kitchens
Paints and varnishes
Mid Century Design
Benchtops and splashback
Bath and basin
Spazio Casa

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Jamie Cobeldick

11 Mar, 2009