A Mahurangi West home was among the winners in the 2018 Auckland Architecture Awards.
The 3-bedroom house named Whare Koa (happy home) was designed by Strachan Group Architects to enjoy views of Opahi Bay.
Judges found that the house incorporated “ingenious technical solutions that blur the interior and exterior space throughout the house”.
The win comes as something of a surprise for the home’s owners, Mike and Karena de Pont, since the house was designed back in 2008 and took 10 years to build.
That long gestation period means it can no longer claim to be at the cutting edge of design.
The build took so long because Mike did much of the construction himself following his retirement. When the couple first moved in, the house was just a shell with no interior walls and no doors on the toilets. Finishing it off became a labour of love.
Cutting edge or not, the couple are delighted with their home, which can be opened up internally to create wide open spaces for big parties, or closed in to create warmer, more intimate settings.
The house was built on the site of a dilapidated family bach and although the bach had to be demolished, the new house retains some of its nuances such as ribbed and louvered windows.
“When we have family gatherings, it’s important to keep those little sentimental tags alive,” Karena says.
The house faces east, which created challenges for keeping it warm. That problem is solved by the use of expansive windows. Sunlight streams in and heats the concrete floor, which then re-radiates the warmth. Double glazing and doubling the amount of insulation required by the building code also helps.
If the house gets a little stuffy, a massive glass door at the back of the house, dubbed “the boot”, can be tilted open to let in fresh air.
Karena says she loves the big windows and how the light falls within the house.
“This place just makes me so happy,” she says.
The spectacular dining and living area.
A fine view of Opahi Bay from the deck.
Mike and Karena enjoy wide open spaces within their new home.