House of the week: Akatarawa

Last updated 05:03 20/11/2013

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It took compromise, plenty of discussion and a refining of the wish list to develop a house George and Michelle Goldie love. The finished project is in a world of their own, high on the hills in the Akatarawa Forest.

"The first design the architects did was fantastic, it looked like a castle, I loved it, but when we did the quantity surveying we thought 'oh no', the staircase alone was going to be $15,000, so we went to one level, immediately saving that $15,000, and worked it out from there."

The finished product is made up of three bedrooms, two bathrooms, an office, open-plan living, a home theatre room, a kitchen and decking with 270-degree views that inspire everyone.

"You enter the home into a gallery space where your eye is instantly drawn towards the views of the valley beyond. You are then instinctively led down through the house and into the heart of the home: the kitchen and living areas, where the ceiling lifts and natural light floods the double-height space," says architectural designer Tushka Glintmeyer.

"The design of the home experiments with contrasts and varying spatial volumes, light and dark, active and passive space, communal and private, transparency and solidity."

Owner George Goldie project managed the build, managing the job from the family cabin home on the same block of land as the new build.

"The house is still a work in progress, we've been doing things and progressing as we can afford, the kitchen was in three stages and every stage was a delight in itself."

Glintmeyer says macrocarpa cladding was chosen for its honest textural qualities.

"It allows the building to work within its context and blend within the native bush setting. The cladding changes aesthetically during the year from silver grey in the drier summer months to copper hues in the wet periods.

"The interior detailing and finishes continue the theme of contrasts, light and dark, active and passive, communal and intimate. Spaces are punctuated with dark moody colour and texture. These two elements are also used to enhance and exaggerate the spatial volumes."   

The family moved in three years ago, and they say the home fits their varying and individual needs well, the two Goldie teenagers walk straight through the garden and a neighbour's property to the school bus, George works from home with a view to motivate and it's an easy commute for Michelle to Levin.

"Early on we got a digger in and flattened areas for a lawn and I've planted in-between to create extensive gardens and besides that I tell our daughter it's just too steep for a horse, well that's what we tell her anyway, but that hasn't stopped her going to the top in equestrian vaulting."


Build cost: $2800/square metre

Size: 265 sq metres plus decking

Architectural designer: Space Architecture

Award: Winner Residential Interior Award for Wellington Region, Architectural Designers New Zealand, Finalist ADNZ National Design Awards.

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Builder: Davide Rutten, DG Rutten Builders

Materials: Macrocarpa board & batten cladding, gib interior, colour steel roof, aluminium joinery

Energy efficiency: Positioning of the house to maximise sun, concrete pad for thermal mass, double glazing, over-spec insulation of walls and ceiling, underfloor heating throughout.

Done right: A contemporary feel to living, underfloor heating that makes for pleasant living, the positioning of the house so heat is captured.

Done wrong: The grouting on the tiles, it wasn’t sealed, the grouting has now become dirty and discoloured. The line of sight down the hall, if the door was another foot sideways the sight would have been down the hall to the view instead of to a door frame.

Unexpected: "The light and the warmth in the house, going to Melbourne often I find houses so dark and this has wonderful natural light," says the owner George Goldie. 

Next time: "I’d love to build the original plan, that fantastic castle. But I enjoyed the process not having any time constraints in terms of having to have the project finished by a certain date because we were already on site in our cabin. I particularly enjoyed the communication we had with the builder. Altogether it was a fun process." 

- © Fairfax NZ News


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