House of the week: Raumati

Last updated 05:00 30/10/2013

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A modern, sophisticated makeover of a World War II army hut has made a Raumati Beach couple's property dreams come true.

Young couple Michelle and Matt Parnell didn't think they could afford unique and architectural design, but they definitely wanted more space.

"We looked at kitset homes but thought the designs were stale and hoped for more. We'd noticed a development on The Esplanade at Raumati we really liked so I found out the architect and builder and got in touch."

Architect Geoff Fletcher says the couple's brief was simple - they wanted "a whole lot more accommodation for less than $200,000, and with a wow factor".

Fletcher gave them just that, by sticking to a key principle: never alter the existing structure. "If you play with old you get into trouble."

Instead, he has designed a floating 45 square metres of open-plan living, kitchen and dining, plus decks, connected to the old by a walkway that creates an entry point.

"The site is a flood plain so the floating room is designed for a 50-year flood, at floor level it's a metre above the ground. The structure is really a sophisticated version of a New Zealand farm building, simple vertical corrugated colour steel made more modern by floating it."

The original 60 square metres of army hut accommodation has doubled in size, creating a family home of three bedrooms, a family bathroom with an extra guest toilet, utility room, snug or winter living room with open fire, a linking walkway with front door and stairs that have proved a favourite family gathering spot connecting to the new open-plan living, dining, concealed kitchen space and decks.

"It's like an implement shed floating above the lawn," says Fletcher.

"The connecting linkway was the hardest thing to get working well, with its windows, the front door and decks. There's fairly sophisticated timber technology in the floor, the sort of thing I wouldn't try with any builder, but I knew Nick Robbers would get it right, he's a very talented builder."

The owners are delighted, not least because the build went just $4,000 over their $160,000 budget. The project has also been designed to sit within the parameters of one half of the section, enabling them to subdivide in the future if they choose.

"Subdivision isn't something we are planning, we just love the big garden, the tall trees and the privacy.
"We are looking forward to our first summer in the new space, out on the decks in the shade of the trees."


Build Cost: Under $200,000

Architect: Geoff Fletcher, Geoff Fletcher Architects in collaboration with Nick Robbers of Haarlem Build.

Size: New 54sqm plus 20sqm decks, original 60sqm

Builder: Nick Robbers, Haarlem Build

Materials: Timber system to floor and roof to achieve floating appearance and spans, corrugated colour steel, butynol roof, blonded plywood floor, aluminium joinery.

Energy efficiency: Insulation, soffit floor, LED lighting, double glazing.

Done right: "The brief exceeded expectations," say the owners Michelle and Matt. "The fit is perfect for the section outlook and the concealed kitchen finishes the internal space perfectly."

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Done wrong: "We should have budgeted for the window shutters - which are a perforated version of the corrugated cladding - to be completed. We will add them when budget allows. We did not appreciate the lead times for products that needed to be shipped from overseas or are in limited stock in New Zealand. As a consequence we made compromises for the flooring in the bathroom and laundry."

Unexpected: "We were apprehensive of the corrugated colour steel cladding which has turned out amazing. The wow factor - we still pinch ourselves with the final result."

Recommend: "Enjoy the build process by trusting your architect and builder." 

- © Fairfax NZ News


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