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Though situated on a sprawling New Zealand site, this property's heart lies on an Eastern shore


As one of the last places to be settled, New Zealand is often referred to as the world's youngest country.

Perhaps this brevity, and its sense of the undiscovered, is what intrigues those from more established homelands, spurring them on to make a piece of the country their own.

For the Singaporean owner of this house, the opportunity to revel in the natural wonders on offer in the wider Otago district was a strong drawcard, says Simon Adnitt of Walker Architects.

"The client enjoys a very active lifestyle and the brief for the property was for a family home that could be enjoyed year round.

"The property also needed to be suitably appointed to accommodate a high-end rental market," says Adnitt.


Large open-plan living areas allow for entertaining, but can also be subdivided via operable walls, to provide more intimate spaces. Easy accessibility for the owner's elderly parents was also a prime consideration.

The property comprises five hectares, but the building platform was quite small, requiring the design to evolve as a U-shape.

"Covenants determining building height and boundary setbacks, along with the nature of the site, meant the 550m2 house was built as a split level, connected with a ramp and steps," says Adnitt.

Entry is from the upper level which contains the dining room, kitchen, two bedrooms and garaging. The lower level houses a further two bedrooms, living-TV room and lounge. All spaces seamlessly transition to the outdoors and are designed to make the most of the panoramic views.

"Cladding materials were limited to cedar and schist," says the designer. "Cedar weatherboards were used to exaggerate the length, while heavy stone elements were used to anchor the house."

Other covenants also had an impact on the design.

"Roof height and shape were both affected. With the height restricted to 5.5m, the roof form was broken down into a rhythm of small gables," says Adnitt.

"This allowed a series of skillion ceilings, which help define the internal spaces while creating a greater feeling of volume and light – forming a visual counterpoint inside to the external materials."

While the rustic vernacular of Central Otago was used to develop the building envelope, the interior was an opportunity for an eclectic twist – with the introduction of elements referencing the owner's Asian heritage and love of Art Deco, says interior designer Emma Gould of White Interiors.

"Despite the fact the client lives overseas, we were able to meet a number of times, which of course was beneficial. The client's brief was to create a comfortable family home, with an Art Deco feel. Feng shui principles helped determine the colour scheme of each room, which was a wonderful basis from which to work, as it gave us the opportunity to really create spaces with their own focus."

Gould also drew from the surroundings, merging the feng shui dictates with the regional hues to establish a link between built and natural.

"We were able to take the palette and tailor it to the landscape outside each room, further cementing the relationship between the house and the environment."

Custom furniture pieces, designed by White Interiors, are teamed with antiques from New Zealand and overseas.

"The house is a luxurious home where comfort is paramount," says Gould. "Bespoke furniture allowed us to tailor the comfort level to match the client's requirements, while the antiques lend the scheme a touch of individuality, which you would find in any home. This is intensified by the owner's impressive collection of rugs, which give the interior a real sense of personality."

"From the first meeting, amenity was the underlying impetus to the design," says Adnitt.

"No matter the season, or the weather, the house has been designed to answer any requirement. With multiple outdoor entertaining areas and commodious indoor spaces, it's all about creating ease and pleasure – something we all aspire to."

First published date: 19 June 2013

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Credit List

Architect Simon Adnitt NZIA, Walker Architects Ltd (Queenstown)
Interior designer Emma Gould, White Interiors
Builder Allister Saville, AJ Saville
Kitchen designer Walker Architects; White Interiors
Kitchen manufacturer Masterwood Joinery
Landscape designer Baxter Design Group
Cladding Cedar weatherboards from JSC Timber
Roofing Calder Stewart
Tiling Metro Floor Christchurch
Flooring Proparq from SpazioCasa
Wall coverings White Interiors
Paints and varnishes Resene
Lighting Ambience Systems; White Interiors
Heating system Firebird diesel boiler and underfloor heating from Central Heating New Zealand
Doors and windows Vantage Architectural Series from Aitken Joinery
Skylights Velux
Window and door hardware Baldwin from Knobs ‘n Knockers
Louvres Sliding louvre screens by Masterwood Joinery
Blinds and drapes White Interiors
Spa Hot Spring from Southern Spas & Pools
Fireplace Warmington
Audio visual Strawberry Sound
Televisions Panasonic
Projector Yamaha YSP4100
Multiroom audio Niles ZR4
Furniture Custom by White Interiors
Kitchen cabinetry Masterwood Joinery
Benchtops Stainless steel, marble
Splashback Calacatta marble; stainless steel
Taps Paffoni from Mico Bathrooms
Oven Lacanche; Fisher & Paykel, available from Kitchen Things
Microwave Panasonic, available from Kitchen Things
Refrigeration and dishwasher Fisher & Paykel, available from Kitchen Things
Shower fittings and taps Paffoni from Mico Bathrooms
Bath Robertson Agencies from Mico Bathrooms
Basin Kohler
Tiles Metro Floor Christchurch
Toilet Cube wall faced invisi by Caroma from Mico Bathrooms
Holiday let agency Touch of Spice