Water, water, everywhere

The stepped-back facade of this new apartment building allows for expansive sea views from nearly every room
Story by: Justin Foote
Exterior view of apartment building which features balconies apartment, architecture, building, commercial building, condominium, corporate headquarters, elevation, facade, home, house, mixed use, neighbourhood, property, real estate, residential area, sky, window, gray, black
Exterior view of apartment building which features balconies with glass balustrades.

Demand for waterfront properties continues to grow, with these increasingly rare parcels of land being redeveloped and maximised as soon as they become available.

Originally comprising two single-family dwellings, this site carried a number of caveats that dictated the size, design and setback of any development, says developer Peter Jones.

"Of particular concern to the council was the potential for any building to block the view from the existing neighbouring developments. We had already taken that into account when working on the design, so the building has been positioned further back on the site than the neighbouring properties. The stepped facade also means that sightlines have been maintained for all of the properties, creating a greater sense of openness and space."

The facade design also allows a greater number of rooms within each apartment to enjoy the 180° ocean views a win-win outcome for the council and the developer.

With the base build component of the complex agreed upon, the focus turned to maximising the interior spaces and co-ordinating an interior design scheme.

Spatial designer Jennie Dunlop, principal of Dunlop Design, was employed to realise the architect's plans and to devise a complementary design aesthetic.

View of lounge featuring sofas, oak floors, rug, home, interior design, living room, property, real estate, room, window, gray, white
View of lounge featuring sofas, oak floors, rug, circular coffee table, floor-to-ceiling windows.

"Living in an apartment is very different to living in a house in an apartment you cannot afford to have any space that isn't being utilised, so areas tend to be predetermined.

"Having said that, in this design we were keenly aware that the resident would likely be downsizing from a house, and so we chose to keep the flow as open as possible.

"The level of flexibility in the plan allows spaces to be reinterpreted with all the living areas across the front of the apartment in summer, for example to suit the season and the owner's lifestyle," says Dunlop.

The featured configuration provides a casual sitting area off the kitchen; however, the designer says this could easily become the dining area should the owners want. Or, the dining area could be sited on the other side of the kitchen island.

To ensure the maximum number of options, Dunlop kept the material palette consistent throughout. Wooden floors were used in the living areas to provide an uninterrupted flow.

"With the materials offering no physical demarcation, the space reads as one large open-plan area. Rugs can be introduced to delineate spaces and add visual interest. Similarly, the lighting treatment was kept very simple so the space appears seamless," says Dunlop.

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View of apartment loggia with stone tiled floors, outdoor dining table and chairs, seating, floor to ceiling glazed panels.

The colour scheme is also modest, with crisp white accents and earth-tone inspired neutrals.

"We wanted to create a softened interior design that wasn't so much a minimalist look as pared back, and understated."

A range of finishes, from matt to high gloss, contributes a level of visual interest without compromising the overall continuity. Similarly, neutral colours are mixed with stone of varying tones and styles, creating a sense of warmth throughout the interior.

The designer says the choice of materials and colour palette were a direct response to the view, which is literally front and centre. The play of light on the water creates a display of ever-changing hues, with points of light and areas of shadow. This is reflected in the various stone surfaces, which also contain reflective and darker elements.

Feb 08, 2011

Credit list

Peter Jones
Kitchen designer
Jennie Dunlop
Solid masonry
Home automation and audiovisual equipment
Alarm Electrical
Doors and windows
Limestone tile from European Ceramics-French oak from Peter Adkins- arpet by Feltex
Cut and buff lacquer
Graphic Glass
Oven, cooktop and dishwasher
Fisher & Paykel
VCBC Lusso freestanding
Basin and toilet
Interior designer
Jennie Dunlop FDINZ, Dunlop Design (Auckland)
Kitchen manufacturer
Klassic Kitchens
Sika (NZ) plaster system
NZ Window Shades
Granite Benchtop Company
Ventilation and refrigeration
Vanity countertops
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