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Akatarawa Valley home


Set in the Akatarawa Valley, Kapiti, this family home was designed for a couple and their two teenage children. Having lived on the site for some 10 years in an existing home they had built in 1998, they had become increasingly aware they were outgrowing their current accommodation. They decided to build a new home on the same site and after two years of meticulously planning where the new home would be sited and refining their design brief they applied for and acquired a Resource Consent for a second dwelling on the site and set about the process of engaging a designer. The brief was for a substantial family home, sobered somewhat by a modest budget of $300,000. The new building was to complement and work within the natural landscape and native bush setting. It should be a highly customised design solution to meet their specific family requirements. The design should maximise the opportunities for panoramic views of the valley from as many spaces as possible, provide a high performance solution for energy use, passive solar heating and natural ventilation and an excellent quality of light.

The resulting design sees you entering the home into a gallery space where your eye is instantly drawn towards the views of the valley beyond and you are 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. The building envelope opens up to the north and east and allows views to the valley and interaction with the landscape.

The location of the study area provides opportunities for participation in the activities of family life below and views beyond. 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. 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.

Exterior of the home with Macrocarpa cladding

Panoramic views of the valley from the lounge

Kitchen and living area

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.

The exterior palette continues to play with the notions of light and dark, recess and relief as well as acknowledging the context of the building and environment. Resene Rice Cake, Resene Cannon Black and Resene Double Cod Grey were used to complement and provide relief from the macrocarpa cladding as well as creating a rich and interesting aesthetic. Decking is finished in Resene Kwila Timber Stain. The colours and materials also draw on the landscape for inspiration and assist with the settling in of the new building. The macrocarpa changes colour in the rain and consideration had to be given to this when choosing the palette.

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. Resene colours Resene Soapstone and Resene Blanc were chosen to establish the light gallery like spaces, and also to work with the material palette to create interest and drama.

Resene Rice Cake
Resene Rice Cake
Resene Cannon Black
Resene Cannon Black
Resene Double Cod Grey
Resene Double Cod Grey
Resene Soapstone
Resene Soapstone
Resene Blanc
Resene Blanc
Resene Double Barista
Resene Double Barista
Resene Wicked
Resene Wicked

Resene Double Barista was used for ceiling and walls in the media room to create a contrasting dark moody retreat from the light open kitchen/dining space. The colour was drawn from the tones of the Zebrano timber veneer used in the kitchen cabinetry, and also relates to the exterior colour scheme.

Resene Wicked was used in conjunction with patterned wallpaper ‘Diva 2561’ in the girl’s bedroom to work with the overall colour palette but add a ‘girlie spin’ to this personal space. The interior scheme is fundamentally a palette of neutrals punctuated with varying tones and textures to create interest and drama.

Bathroom with Resene Rice Cake

Architectural specifier: Nathan Rooney, Stuart Ashdown, SPACE Architecture Studio Ltd
Building contractor: DG Rutten Builders Limited
Interior designer: Tushka Glintmeyer, SPACE Architecture Studio Ltd
Painting contractor: S & R Decorators Limited
Photographer: Paddy Riley, Paddy Riley Photography

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