My favourite space: Open plan stylish hilltop living

Scott Lawrie originally wanted leather handles for the kitchen island drawers, but couldn't find any he wanted; instead ...
JANE USSHER/NZ HOUSE & GARDEN

Scott Lawrie originally wanted leather handles for the kitchen island drawers, but couldn't find any he wanted; instead he took the concept and created steel ones: "I'm obsessed with them, I always say to guests, "touch my handles, they're amazing."

Scott Lawrie has a secret. He's kept it close for some time. It's living simply: just him and his dog Skippy, on top of a hill with a view of Pakiri beach beneath.

"When you make the decision to live like this, it is a good secret to keep because otherwise everyone would do it," he says. "Although it would probably help lower blood pressure rates in New Zealand.

Four years ago, Scott, picked a spot on top of a hill in Pakiri, 85km north of Auckland, and built his dream house. "I wake up every morning and think I have died and gone to heaven," he says.

The red Sally Gabori painting on the far wall is Scott’s favourite – he bought it in Sydney but never had space for it, ...
JANE USSHER/NZ HOUSE & GARDEN

The red Sally Gabori painting on the far wall is Scott’s favourite – he bought it in Sydney but never had space for it, so he made sure there was room in this house; the ply chairs are Eames originals; the 4m-wide window was architect Paul Clarke’s idea: “I thought it would be ugly, but once again Paul was right.”

Although he lives a simple life, his house, which featured on Grand Designs New Zealand in 2015, is anything but. Designed by architect Paul Clarke (s2a.co.nz), it's constructed without almost any right angles.

READ MORE:
Welcome to Homed
Meet the Homed team
My favourite space: A mid-century room by the sea 

 

The apex of the house faces directly north, in line with the Hen and Chicken Islands, and Scott chose a site where the views can never be built out. With an outer shell of steel and lined inside with French cedar, it's a hard-wearing house that reflects the elements.

The main living area epitomises the theatrical nature of Scott's house; dark black walls, breathtaking views, carefully considered lighting and sculptural elements, such as the angled stainless steel island bench in the kitchen. "I wanted to make something that outlived me," says Scott.

"Thinking that I have achieved something that people will still look at after I'm gone is really special."

Scott Lawrie admires the view.
JANE USSHER/NZ HOUSE & GARDEN

Scott Lawrie admires the view.

Did you have a vision for this space? Yes – I worked with Paul Clarke for the best part of a year before the ground was even scraped. We worked well together and knew that we wanted quite a masculine space that also felt quite timeless. There's a high contrast between the hardness and angular surfaces and the warmth of the wood and the black walls. It's bold. But it's gentle – and really works as a living space to read, entertain and drink wine in!

Ad Feedback

What was the decorating process for this space? Surprisingly there's not a lot of paint, as we wanted the surfaces and textures to authentically speak for themselves; the softness of the oiled cedar, the natural blue steel, the cool concrete. I'm not a huge fan of textiles and fabrics, so these were used sparingly. Although strong, it's also quite minimal and we wanted to make the external landscape the hero to be honest. That said, my art collection is really important to me, so we built that in from day one.

What are the key features of this space? The fireplace. It's an original French Gyrofocus wood burner – it rotates and you simply point it where you'd like the heat to focus. It wasn't cheap though. And cost me a few sleepless nights – but I'm so glad I went with it. The red painting is by Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori and is called 'Dibirdibi Country'. She's an Australian aboriginal landscape painter. It's a stunning, honest piece of art.

The Gyrofocus fireplace was imported from France. It's made from 120kg of steel and rotates 360 degrees; the black ...
JANE USSHER/NZ HOUSE & GARDEN

The Gyrofocus fireplace was imported from France. It's made from 120kg of steel and rotates 360 degrees; the black chairs were rescued from a skip in Sydney and reupholstered.

Do you have any advice for other homeowners? Get yourself the best architect and builder you can afford. When they work well as a team, amazing things happen.

What do you like best about this space? The fact that it keeps giving you something new to look at – from the lighting throughout the day, to the subtleties of the space, forms and shadows. It's quite beautiful and always changing.

When Scott Lawrie was planning his Pakiri home, north of Auckland, he was initially nervous about having a wall made ...
JANE USSHER/NZ HOUSE & GARDEN

When Scott Lawrie was planning his Pakiri home, north of Auckland, he was initially nervous about having a wall made entirely of glass.

 - Stuff

Comments

Ad Feedback
special offers
Ad Feedback