Above: The colours chosen by designer Liz Kerby of Lizzie K & Co for this bach on Auckland’s west coast reflect the bush-clad hills and stormy seas. Resene Bluegrass is used on a tongue-and-groove wall that runs through the entry way and dining space. The floor is painted in Resene Quarter Foggy Grey. Resene Bluegrass Resene Quarter Foggy Grey “There’s a playfulness to these holiday homes that comes from the history.” N othing else symbolises the relaxed holiday lifestyle quite like the bach. Or crib as they call it in the south, or holiday home if you live beyond our shores. Whether by the beach, lake or mountain, this modest dwelling is an iconic part of our history and culture, and sums up the meaning of escape from the city and ordinary working life. Baches became popular in the 1950s when roads improved and cars became more common, giving access to more remote places. They were almost always small and made of cheap and sometimes recycled materials like fibrolite, corrugated iron or used timber. As we’ve become more affluent and building codes stricter, they’ve grown more sophisticated. Yet still, many bach owners want to reflect a simpler, back- to-nature way of life that departs from the everyday. “A bach represents a form of nostalgia harking back to a simpler life. It’s a sanctuary from urban business,” says designer Liz Kerby of Lizzie K & Co. “It’s a touchstone, a soulful place where you can add your own personality and character.” Wellington architect Gerald Parsonson has no time for those who plonk standard homes from suburbia by the sea for holidays. “It grates. It destroys part of the beauty of the area.” When designing baches, he takes inspiration from the environment. “Every site is different. If it’s a steep site in the Marlborough Sounds, we’re influenced by how it fits on the land. If it’s a flat coastal site, then it’s a different dwelling. “There’s a playfulness to these holiday homes that comes from the history,” says Gerald. “Having it beachy and basic is a good aspiration. Furnishings can be quite mad. It’s nice to turn up and kick sand through the house and not be hung up about kids and dog activity.” Layouts are determined as much by relaxed attitudes as modest budgets. Hence the lack of front entries, says Gerald. “Baches can be quite casual in the way bedrooms come off living areas and so on. They have multi-purpose spaces. A bedroom might be behind sliding doors. “You can use basic materials and colour more playfully. Old baches were typically slapped together with fibro-cement cladding. It was easy to knock them up in plywood, so we’ve tried to use these sorts of materials. They’re really low maintenance and easy to paint,” he says. Designer Anna Major from Haus of Design in New Plymouth also encourages her clients to be sympathetic to the surroundings. “In Taranaki, we’re inundated with beauty in our mountain and coastal areas.” For remote locations, security is often key, says Anna. When she designed a new bach in Oakura recently, it was about creating the ability to easily lock up and leave, so she specified sensor lights and aluminium joinery. In regions of high salt exposure, she uses premium Resene Lumbersider on exterior walls and inside, she uses Resene SpaceCote – “you can wash it and it won’t tarnish. It’s a premium washable paint that 39 tips and tricks