House of the week: Pelorus Sound

Last updated 05:00 12/02/2014

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A bottle of local wine and breathtaking views are the perfect ingredients for any Marlborough holiday.

Which is perhaps what the owners had in mind when architect Jeremy Smith received a brief for a bach nestled high up in a private forest overlooking the Pelorus Sound.

They needed a place where they could spend time relaxing and maintaining their plantation forest, but could then rent out for the rest of the year, Nelson-based Smith, of Irving Smith Jack Architects, says.

"It's been designed so it's rentable, self-sufficient, and simple. It's quiet architecture, a part of the Sound and very relaxing."

Measuring about 80 square metres, the challenge in designing this small two-bedroom bach was ensuring it tied in with the dramatic landscape of the Sound.

"The orientation of the house is different to the usual way you'd build on the steep - usually you would build across the site," Smith says.

"In this situation, we built out off the site so they could have a flat area on each side of the house. What allowed us to do that was the fact the key view was along the topography, rather than straight outwards, and the bach was little."

The sweeping Marlborough views are enhanced by a breezeway through the middle, and are linked to the afternoon sun on the other side of the bach, he says.

"You have white surfaces bouncing light through the breezeway, so we used cedar cladding internally to capture and dampen the light and extend the breezeway continuously through the living area."

A living room jutting off the breezeway provides a private space to curl up in, and a rich fireplace keeps things cosy.

The eave on the bach also forms a solid veranda to protect against heavy rainfall. 

"In a bach it's about having places and corner spaces to go and get out of the loop slightly - it might be raining for a week so you need places to retreat to," Smith says.

The bach was "built to a budget", and designed to be as efficient as possible, he says.

"The house has got a slightly Scandinavian feel to it, it's got quite a pure relationship of light orientating the spaces within the house, and the house to the landscape."

(This bach is available to rent. If interested, contact the owners at

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