With three active young boys, this family was keen to build a home in a beautiful location that encouraged an outdoors lifestyle. They focused their search on the area around Otago, New Zealand, which is where one of the owners had spent fun-filled holidays as a child.
When a site became available just outside the historical gold rush village of Arrowtown, Queenstown, nestled behind Lake Hayes and below magnificent mountain peaks, they wasted no time in snapping it up.
Read on to discover how Hamish Muir, architect and director at Mason & Wales Architects, helped the couple create their perfect family home in this picturesque spot.
House at a GlanceWho lives here?
A family of fiveLocation
Four bedrooms and three bathrooms; around 300 sq mArchitect
Hamish Muir of Mason & Wales Architects Builder
Fleming BuildingPhotos by Simon Devitt
The owners wanted a modern farmhouse packed with character. “Agrarian farm buildings dot the Otago landscape and these inspired the look and feel of the design,” Hamish says.
“The result is a contemporary interpretation of these buildings, upscaled and up-specced to deliver high-quality living standards, while remaining understated, classic and enduring,” he says.Looking to build your forever home? Find an architect near you on Houzz.
The home consists of a series of small buildings, including separate sleeping wings for the main bedroom and children’s rooms, which are all arranged around a central living pavilion.
Three sides of the central pavilion open up to outdoor living spaces, encouraging the whole family to spill outdoors when the weather’s good, and providing a variety of spaces to enjoy at different times of the day and night.
“The idea was to create a warm and friendly home with separate spaces arranged around a central living pavilion. All the spaces needed to be highly functional and the family also required plenty of storage for their all-season outdoor gear,” Hamish says.
A pitched ceiling in the living pavilion cleverly draws in the sunlight. “It feels so open, it’s almost like living in a tent,” Hamish says.
“Everything happens in the kitchen for the owners, so it was a very important part of the design,” Hamish says.
He specified a large communal island, where the family can gather and enjoy casual meals, and an abundance of storage. “A small seating area was built just off the kitchen to extend the area and this is the most-used part of the house,” he says.
Careful consideration went into the selection of colours and materials. “The kitchen is fully visible in the open-plan living pavilion, so it needed to blend in with the other aspects of the room,” Hamish says.
To achieve this, he specified oak joinery that matches the timber used in the living room and a dark natural stone worktop for the island, which echoes the colour of the living room hearth. “This dark worktop also reflects the surrounding rocky mountain tops. We then used brushed steel on the cupboards to tie in with this idea,” he says. The splashback tiles are marble.
Operable skylights boost air flow in the summer months.
The living area centres on a wood-burning fire,
creating a cosy spot for the family to come together and relax. The blockwork above the fire and elsewhere in the interior was staggered, so it didn’t look too perfect and brought character and texture to the space.
Generous glass doors at the rear provide views of the setting sun and connect inside and out when fully opened.
A floor-to-ceiling wall of bookshelves was crafted from the same oak as the kitchen joinery, creating the sense of cohesion the owners wanted.
Arrowtown enjoys hot summers and snowy winters, so it was crucial that the home’s design catered to both extremes. “It needed to feel cosy and intimate around the fire on cooler nights, while being open and breezy for the hotter summer months with the doors open,” Hamish says.
“Opening the whole wall of doors on the western end works well, as the area is so sheltered and it connects the room to the outdoor fireplace,” Hamish says.You might also enjoy How to Link Your Indoor and Outdoor Spaces.
“Given the house has all-day sun, one challenge was to restrict the summer sun while allowing as much solar warmth as possible for the cold, harsh winters. The boys’ living/TV room was deliberately located on the [cooler] south side of the house to combat the summer heat,” Hamish says.
The colours and finishes of the home’s exterior echo those in the surrounding countryside. “The owners wanted a weathered cedar look with anodised silver joinery. The block plaster finish – the same as the one used inside the house – was added to give contrast to the cedar weatherboard buildings,” Hamish says.
The result is a home that feels warm, relaxed and very much connected to its surrounds – just the look and lifestyle the owners were seeking.
Could you picture yourself living here? Let us know in the Comments.