House Of The Week
It was hard for West Coast architect Gary Hopkinson to design and project manage the build of his own home, but he now says living in it is like being on holiday.
Hopkinson first spotted the site as a child, when he used to camp down at the Taramakau River mouth with the scouts. His home is now adjacent to the still-functioning camp, with views out to sea, stretching along the coastline and to the lights of Greymouth at night.
"We wanted one bedroom and living for us and on the other side two bedrooms interconnected, a self-contained apartment, an area that could be shut off, or be suitable as a B&B in the future or for guests," he explains.
The house is hinged, so the main section isn't looking at the apartment. It's one room deep, no passageways and all the rooms are linked together.
The glassed front to the north west and out to sea has fixed glazing, as the seaside aspect and wind meant doors would have been unable to be opened for much of the time. The opening doors are to the north, and at the opposing side of the rooms there is high level glass which provides sun and privacy.
The monopitch roofline maximises water collection and minimises visual interference on the bush-covered slope. The stud height varies from 2.4 metres to 4 metres, the ceilings were kept low in consideration of the high wind zone. The exterior is a mix of oiled cedar and raw concrete block. The build sits on a concrete slab for thermal mass gain and the double glazed windows have been tinted to minimise solar gain.
The interior includes careful detailing, like the windows which are recessed into the ceiling with articulated walls and ceiling panels. "You get the effect that they are floating," Hopkinson says.
Interior exposed beams are recycled wharf piles, Sydney bluegum, that Gary and partner Rae hand planed over three days.
All three bedrooms have en suites, a link space works well as an office and art studio, and the living dining kitchen area is open plan and creates the connection between the two halves of the build. Lighting is a mix of suspended LEDs and fluorescents with a few spots to highlight artworks.
The roof is a pale grey to reflect light and the exterior walls are an ironsand colour that contrasts with the oiled cedar. The interior is a mix of natural recessive colours to reflect the coast, greys, greens, and blues, tone on tone with no strong colours.
"Someone said the house feels like an elegant beach house," Hopkinsons says. "I agree, living here you feel like you're on holiday all the time."
Build Cost: $650,000 including siteworks and roading.
Architect: Gary Hopkinson, Hopkinson Kelsall Team Architects Ltd., Greymouth.
Size: 200 sq.m, plus 180 sq. m of garaging, workshop and studio.
Builder: Gary Doidge, Greymouth
Materials: Cedar, colour steel, concrete block, tinted double glazing.
Energy efficiency: High level of insulation with batts, plywood sarked ceilings, double glazing, thermal mass withconcrete block and concrete slab.
Done right: It's a very relaxing house and very easy-care, with no lawns.
Done wrong: We probably overglazed, the level of glazing to the north west is probably too high. The penalty is overheating in the summer but we wanted the views from every room.
Unexpected: Decision making, project managing, being the architect and the property owner proved difficult. Rae helped me transition from the architect to the owner, so in the morning I was the architect and in the evening the owner, allowing a time when Rae and I could discuss things and make decisions. Successful homes are good ideas resolved well.
Recommend: Using concrete for thermal mass in a house. And for the process, having a very clear brief, knowing what's required physically plus the ambiance wanted. It's also really important to have a good designer who you can work with and who understands your needs so it becomes a seamless design process.
Next time: There won't be another time, we're here for keeps, I'll go out of here in a wheelchair. When you build on a section like this you have one opportunity and we'd like to think what we have created the family will happily inherit.
- © Fairfax NZ News