Two forms, two tones, one sustainable retreat

This texture-rich coastal holiday home responds to its wild setting with a hunkered down design comprising intersecting forms in natural tones

Designed by Stacey Farrell Architect

From the architect:

The site 

Omaui is a small settlement, on the South Coast of New Zealand, originally settled by Māori, later used as a whaling and sealing base. 

The 911m² site is North facing with all day sun and enjoys views across the bay to Oreti Beach and the mountains of Fiordland.  

There is a native bush reserve behind the site with abundant bird life and extensive sea life with dolphins, seals and orca. 

The owners had previously holidayed on the land, camping over a ten year period before commissioning the design.

This is is a small holiday house located on the rugged South Coast of New Zealand. 

The site faces North, gently descending to the dunes, with windswept trees inspiring the low, grounded form. 

The structure is bedded into the landscape, hunkering down from the harsh coastal weather. 

Materials and colours are deliberately pared back so as not to compete with the natural environment. 

The home's two forms collide, with the black form dominating the brown – inspired by the ocean waves journeying from the distant mountains across the bay and crashing into the shore. 

The house is wrapped around a large windswept native beech tree, and opens reveal views across dunes, the ocean and snow capped mountains. 

Entry is through the brown grounded form with the exterior prepared for native plants to eventually climb over and conceal it. 

The entrance area is designed for coats and boots to be stored. 

The interior is oriented for sun, views and solar gain. 

Materials are raw and stripped back internally with a reduced palette of two internal linings matching the two external claddings. 

The home features extremely low energy use, with SIPs construction and a wood burning fire for heating. 

Rainwater is collected from the roof. 

The home was designed to be sustainable, with a small environmental impact and is is also relocatable should sea levels rise. 

The owners wanted a discrete hideaway retreat that was warm and luxurious, while making the most of a remote site with coastal views – on a very small budget.

Design notes 

• Visual interest is achieved through texture and form

• The grounded brown form, conceals a large woodshed

• Rubbish bins are concealed on the opposite side

• Tools and sporting equipment concealed beside front door

• The entry provides extensive interior storage

• Bedrooms are at separate ends of the house for privacy 

• The table tennis table was incorporated at homeowners' request

• Large comfortable sofas anchor the relaxing zone. 

• Kitchen is understated. Client wanted a ‘holiday feel’. 

• Nostalgic elements reflect traditional Kiwi ‘baches’ or ‘cribs’

Sustainability considerations  

  • Modest size
  • Designed with passive house ideology to require minimal heating 
  • Sustainably sourced materials where possible
  • Locally sourced materials and trades
  • Wood burning fire for heating
  • Ventilation system with through wall ‘heat exchange’ vents
  • SIPs Structural Insulated Panels) construction
  • SIPs were not overlined, reducing materials, labour, and waste
  • Locally sourced recycled wool insulation in ceiling
  • Rooftop rainwater collection
  • Pre-wired for solar panel installation
  • Locally fabricated powder-coated aluminium windows
  • Exterior clad with colour coated steel for low maintenance
  • Plumbing and electrical fittings are not on external walls to minimise heat loss 
  • Single bathroom

Credit list

Kitchen manufacturer
Pooles Joinery
Landscape design
Stacey Farrell, installed by Hyde Landscaping
Window/door joinery
Lewis Windows
Briwax and Resene
Feature light fittings
Ambience Lighting, Noozi
Kitchen design
Stacey Farrell Architect
Interior designer
Stacey Farrell
Cladding and roof
Colorsteel, by Marshalls
Nick Radford
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) Homes – Winner

Designed by: Stacey Farrell Architect

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Ben Ruffell

17 Sep, 2023

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