House of the week: Tata Beach bach

Last updated 12:48 14/08/2012

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For Nelson architect David Jerram, his Golden Bay beach house combines the design he has most loved and appreciated after 30 years of practice. And it has thrown up unexpected results, even for him.

Areas around the house positioned for protection from the wind have proved better than he envisaged, maximising views, location and that fabulous Golden Bay sun.

Using polished concrete floors, concrete block work on the ground level, plywood and an unexpected and unusual roof line, Jerram reckons he has conjured up a beach house feel, with a contemporary look and ease of use and care.

His peers agree. The house won a local New Zealand Institute of Architects award and was praised for the way it combines passive solar principles and boyhood fantasies to create a unique holiday house.

"From the lagoon it appears as a sleek black creature poised on the side of Tata Hill, while from the beach a large sloping window reflects the bush below, giving a sense of transparency. Dark stained interior plywood and polished black concrete floors are countered with large areas of glass, maximising views and the possibilities for solar gain. A bold response to a prominent site."

The house is self-contained downstairs with a rumpus room, kitchenette, bunkroom, bedroom, bathroom and decking. Upstairs, bedrooms, bathrooms and expansive living and dining open on to decking overlooking Tata Beach.

The roof line was designed to follow the hillside and the tilt enables the last of the evening sun to be enjoyed along with unobstructed sea views.

A bold step was to paint the interior plywood black, covering over beautiful natural wood grain.

"When we had brushed in hand with black paint on we did look at each other and wonder what we were doing," says Jerram. "But I felt there was so much light, and in fact there is in that part of the world, that we needed something that shielded us a bit from the late sun. And the black frames the view, it's a bit like having shades on or a hat."

The feature red inside picks out the colour of the flowers of the surrounding pohutakawa and gum trees.

Jerram says he thought carefully about placement of lighting to retain the timber ceilings and their line. He's mixed halogen, fluorescent and LED with unexpected results.

"With black walls and no street lighting, when we around the dining table with the light above someone can walk across the room and you barely know they are there. and when various parts of the room are lit up the rest of the room disappears."

The black theme is continued on the outside with the hope the build would recede into its environment when looking at it from the sea.

A large front window has been tilted to ensure it is non-reflective from the sea, an angle that is continued through the building. The rest of the house is double-glazed and a lap pool on the upper level provides all year round swimming through solar heating.


SIZE: 260 sqm + 100sqm decking

MATERIALS: Concrete, plywood,

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ENERGY EFFICIENCY: "Very little heating is required as the solar gain is stored in the concrete floors and walls. This works very well in the winter as long as there is sun. The heatpump copes with any cold grey days," says Jerram.

DONE RIGHT: Works fantastically for the sun and views.

DONE WRONG: Heatpump is a bit noisy.

UNEXPECTED BONUS: The effects of the black rooms at night.

RECOMMEND: Considering use of dark stained interiors in the right environment.

NEXT TIME: Set aside a few more dollars.


- © Fairfax NZ News


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