House of the week: Artists' retreat

Last updated 05:00 05/12/2012
boswijk ceramics
SCULPTURE GARDEN: Christine Boswijk's sculptures are showcased by the surrounding garden.

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Patrick Maisey's home is a true labour of love. He built it himself, using locally sourced materials, in a prime spot at the end of a peninsula in the Tasman district that has been in his family for generations.

Not surprisingly, the place means an enormous amount to Maisey, his partner Christine Boswijk and their family. The house has grown gradually over time as work commitments and the mood allowed.

Today it's a substantial build, able to house the blended family of 14 when they are all together at Christmas.

"We will start by picking our own homegrown cherries with the grandchildren on Christmas Eve and always gather around the long table to eat on Christmas Day," says Christine Boswijk.

There are three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a massive living dining space and huge farmhouse kitchen. An adjacent structure of similar proportions allows the artist pair to pursue their individual passions - Christine in ceramics and sculpture and Patrick in the restoration of old cars.

The house has been developed in three stages including a second level with master bedroom and en suite.

"It's perfect for Patrick," says Boswijk. "He can get out of bed, look through the telescope and check on his boat moored at Mapua and then go to his workshop and the classic cars."

While the house design has been Maisey's preserve (with help from a draughtsman friend and then Nelson architect John Palmer), Boswijk had input too. She is quick to point out her walk- in wardrobe and dressing area in the angle of the roof pitch.

There's plenty of quirky and distinctive detail to the property. A daughter's former partner crafted steel porthole window frames and old wharf supports, hand positioned by Patrick and helpers using a block and tackle, form the main structure of the build. The clay exterior wall in the living area, added seven years ago, has a huge open fire and French doors in the new addition have created indoor-outdoor flow to the pond, water feature and view over the estuary.

"We have two planes- the vertical of the mountains and the horizontal of the sea. We have unbelievable light and life in this environment," Boswijk says.

The house is about functionality - everything has to have a purpose and a use, so it doesn't become a relic of the past. The house and surrounds continue to develop, a canvas for two artists.


Build cost: $250,000

Size: 372 square metres.

Materials: Radiata from the property, rimu in the ceiling, clay from the property for rammed earth wall - all the wood except the rimu was from the property.

Energy efficiency: Open solid fuel fire, wool insulation and pink batts.

Architect: John Palmer, Palmer & Palmer, Nelson.

Done right: The house has a very inclusive feeling. It has an old-fashioned family kitchen and the ambiance of the house is substantial yet calm because it's made from real materials. It's a very human house.

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Done wrong: I should have put more windows on the west side towards the garden, I like sitting in the sun and sunny corners.

Unexpected: When it all came together it proved better than we'd expected, together we've achieved something and that's hard to do when several people are involved.

Recommend: Choose your architect carefully and think about what is personal to you. Create spaces in which you can live and nourish yourself. A lot of people make spaces because their intention is to put the house on the market, but I suggest people do build for now.

Next time: I'd have the kitchen on the east side for the morning sun. I'd build for the sun, and now I know about the summer drought here I'd plant and create the garden in a different way.

- Stuff


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