A modern beach house seamlessly blends with a neighbouring 100-year-old cottage, creating a long, linear family home that embraces both old and new

Designed by Aaron Jones, Urbanfunction

From the building designer:

The setting

The site for this modern beach house had contained a condemned 100-year-old cottage, joined to its neighbouring cottage of the same era. 

The design of the new family home respects the condemned cottage, the remaining adjoining cottage and the surrounding Sumner neighbourhood.

The brief

The design brief focused on creating an energy-efficient, low-maintenance and future-proofed home for a larger family. 

Seamlessly blending the architecture of the old cottages and the new structure was fundamental to the design, as was the use of natural materials – the brick wall shared between the two cottages has been retained in the new home.

Outdoor living spaces were required to be located outside of indoor living zones, providing seamless connections. 

Incorporating energy efficiency and sustainable principles, such as passive solar design, high spec windows/insulation and efficient heating/cooling systems were also critical to the design brief.

We were asked to offer fun and playful spaces to be discovered within the home, creating a sense of joy and liveliness. 

The house was to be designed to offer ample space for family living and growth – to be a comfortable and enjoyable home for a modern family while respecting the existing structures and maximising the tight site footprint.

Design response

The house design focuses on space relationships, materials, finishes, urban design principles, and sustainability. 

The floor plan mimics the existing cottage footprint, creating a seamless blend between the old and new. 

The volume in the living area connects to an upper loft space, fostering a sense of family connectivity.

Open plan dining, living, and kitchen areas flow seamlessly with outside decking areas. 

The barn-style double height living addition adds a feeling of space beyond the dimensionally small footprint, while bedrooms are privately placed with views of the surrounding hillside. 

Fun and charming secret loft areas provide spaces that the children can escape to.

Materials and finishes were chosen to create a modern beach house vibe, blending with the local environment. 

Abodo vertical shiplap timber cladding with hints of hard plaster and painted fluted timber add natural textures. 

The design reflects a subtle placement of the new additional forms while durable hard surfaces blend into the landscape.

Sustainability is considered through the material use of terracotta tiles, recycled brickwork from earthquake-demolished inner city buildings, naturally weathered thermally modified timber cladding, deep timber framing with maximum insulation and hydronic underfloor heating within a super insulated concrete slab.

In summation

This project considers space relationships, modern family beachside living, materials and finishes, urban context, and sustainability. 

Historical neighbouring structures are respected, and energy efficiency is integrated into the building’s infrastructure where possible.

Credit list

Building designer
Kitchen designer
Abbie Herniman, The Home Maker
Interior designer
Abbie Herniman, The Home Maker
Window/door joinery
Main living area – Abbas, Corcovado
Marble sand lime plaster mixed with Dulux Cardrona
General heating
In-slab hydronic heating
Wall light in kitchen and powder room by We Ponder; wall lights by daybed in lounge by Soktas; master bedroom pendants by Nightworks Studio; pear pendants in living area from Corcovad;, main bedroom lights are Code pendants by Nightworks; dining room pendant light by Gervasoni from ECC
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) Homes – Highly Commended
Kitchen manufacturer
Ryan's Kitchens & Joinery
Colorsteel Corrugate
Main flooring
Concrete floor by Peter Fell
Powder room, by Appiani Seta Ghaccio, from Artedomus; kitchen and bathroom, by Tiles of Ezra; fireplac, by Design Source
Dulux Cardrona
Living area furniture
Coffee table and side table, David Shaw; rest of furniture, homeowners' existing

Designed by: Aaron Jones, Urbanfunction

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Anna McLeod Photography

03 Dec, 2023

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