Designed for environment with twist of local inspiration

Glass and stone are two very prominent features of the property.

For an architecturally unique property that is moulded to its surroundings, it would be hard to go past 921a Takatu Road, at Tawharanui.

The house, owned by Lindsay and Brian McPhun, was designed by Warkworth architectural designer Graham Sawell and took six years to plan and construct.

It sits on six hectares of land and is called The Koru House, reflecting its shape, which spirals to enclose a swimming pool at one end.

The property was originally 48 hectares, but has been split into five titles.

The couple chose Graham Sawell as their architectural designer in 2006, after being inspired by his hand-drawn designs.

They wanted a house that made them feel like they were outside all the time, with lots of glass, stone and concrete. Privacy for sections of the house was also a consideration.

There are vast areas of exterior and interior glass, with lots of sliding doors which open the house to the outside.
Decking is on both the north and south sides of the house to give sheltered outdoor options regardless of wind direction and a choice of a farmland or ocean view.

Privacy is created by wings off the main structure of the house, which Lindsay says reflect the shape of the headlands they overlook.

One wing overlooking Kawau Bay accommodates a guest space with one bathroom, two bedrooms and a wardrobe.

The second and third wings also face south, each with a living and dining space, bathroom and bedroom, and with direct access to the swimming pool.

A fourth wing at the upper end of the house faces north and accommodates another bedroom. It is attached to the ‘stem’ of the house which has a studio fitted with a kitchen, bedroom and bathroom.

The McPhuns lived in this space during the build process.

Lindsay says the construction process was smooth despite all the technical aspects of the build.

“Just about every engineer north of the Harbour Bridge had to have a look at it though, because it was around the time of the leaky house crisis,” she says.

The centre of the house is made up of a kitchen which is accompanied by a wine cellar and pantry, as well as laundry and bathroom.

The cellar is smartly integrated under the hallway to maximise the space in the rooms.

In fitting with the land, the roof is flat but runs on a seven degree angle to follow the contour of the section.

Natural materials make up a large portion of the house with rough sawn macrocarpa doors inside, two heavy jarrah front doors, stones lining the floor and a large number of stone walls each 760mm wide.

Nine stone masons were involved in the build and Lindsay says she can spot the work of each individual.

“I feel like we’ve made a house that won’t age with the look and mix of materials we have,” she says.

A double garage doubles as Brian’s carpentry workshop, with his work evident in much of the furnishings around the house.

The house is also energy efficient with LED lighting, solar-heated pool, double insulation in the ceiling and low e-glass, which retains the inside temperature more efficiently than normal glass.

Lindsay says they are very pleased with the home, and only native planting and sealing of the drive are left to do.