Standing atop a small knoll, the only relief on what was otherwise flat contour, inspired the idea to have the house sit above the land, rather than on it. The hint for this notion was that every time you visited the site you found yourself walk to the top of the knoll! Located just outside the village of Urenui in North Taranaki with expansive rural valley outlooks the elevated building platform enables total access to these views, maximise sun & light and setting the house prominently on a plinth. Key client brief requirements were for a home that sat comfortably in a rural environment, to be a warm environment both functionally & visually and have private outdoor living spaces that connected to the views. As owners of a local store a small home office was needed, and this was required to be near the living areas yet easily closed off when required. Yellow and blue colour accents are a nod to Mrs Cox’s Thai heritage.
A socially oriented kitchen was required with access to the outdoor spaces on both sides of the house. A large island was desired and to include the cooktop ready for the host to amaze the assembled guests. One of the patios also required a roof for protection from the elements.
The key theme of the design, in section, was two opposing wedge forms that passed each other. The wedge to the living spaces is skillion roofed which mimics the slope down the site which is further accentuated with the lounge at the end of the house set lower “at the bottom of the slope”. With the gas fire in the lounge as the primary heat source the warm air “moves up the slope” effectively heating the whole home. The long slim plan serves the twin purposes of access to the valley views and access to sun & light. Sight lines were carefully considered for each room. Along the sides of the plan are numerous patio and deck areas providing connection to the exterior for the living areas and master bedroom.
FSC certified sustainable Siberian Larch was chosen for the wall cladding. It has been left to weather naturally to minimise maintenance and give a look akin to local rural macrocarpa sided sheds and barns. Rainwater is harvested and stored in tanks to supply the home. Wastewater is also managed on-site.
Every bedroom and living space accesses northerly sun with the living spaces receiving all day sunlight. The master bedroom, office, hobby room, bath and all living spaces enjoy the rural valley vista. Polished concrete floors combined with significant slab insulation provide excellent thermal mass. The practical performance of the floor is visually enhanced by the birch ply ceiling above. The bespoke kitchen continues the theme with solid and veneer timber.