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With its mix of dark-stained weatherboards and corrugated aluminium, this new holiday home is reminiscent of the traditional kiwi lakeside fishing bach


Endless summer days at the family bach – or your best friend's family bach – are a fond memory for many New Zealanders.

Not surprisingly, it's a lifestyle many people set out to recapture in adulthood. And it's those early memories and simple holiday homes that are influencing the design of many beach and lakeside properties today.

This lakefront holiday home is a prime example. It was designed for a Wellington family that wanted a home that would encapsulate the traditional New Zealand summer holiday experience.

Architect Simon Novak of Novak and Middleton Architects says the owners wanted the house to impart a sense of belonging.

"It needed to blend in with the surrounding area, rather than make a big statement," he says. "We also wanted to create something quite different to the owners' large Wellington house, so that the whole experience of going on holiday would be heightened.


"This house needed to be informal, and low maintenance. And the owners had to be able to lock it and leave it."

Practical, robust materials were essential, Novak says. In keeping with this requirement, the exterior features dark-stained timber weatherboards, which imitate the creosote boards that are common on old fishing baches in the Lake Taupo region. Silver anodised, corrugated aluminium cladding also features.

"The exterior is an eclectic mix of components – a more sophisticated version of the traditional bach where bits were added on by different generations," says Novak.

Due to its close proximity to ski fields, the house is used by the family through winter as well as summer. Consequently, it needed to be cool in summer, yet warm in winter.

To this end, the windows are double glazed. To provide summer shade, the main roof has a large overhang on the north side, supported by struts. This keeps the sun out of the second-floor rooms in summer, yet allows the lower sun in winter to warm the interior. Retractable sail shades on a pergola keep the sun out of the ground floor.

Similar canvas is stretched to form a stair balustrading inside the house. The architect says the material alludes to the camping experience, which further enhances the sense of a traditional kiwi holiday.

Inside, polished concrete flooring provides thermal insulation, and is also a practical option for a lakeside bach.

"The family can run in and out with wet, sandy feet, without worrying about damaging anything," says Novak.

Strips of polished cedar edge the flooring where it meets the bifold doors, definingthe boundaries between inside and out. Similar timber is used for the front door, and the door to a boat shed.

An open-plan layout creates an easy, relaxed flow between the living areas, and to the outdoors. Timber sills extend to the outside of the kitchen windows, forming a benchtop and providing another link to a sheltered outdoor courtyard.

The kitchen benchtops feature thin sheets of stainless steel mounted onto rewarewa timber, which creates a semi-industrial look.

In the living room, a raised concrete hearth runs the length of the room, providing a platform for entertainment systems, and additional seating when needed.

"Overall the interior is very clean lined and pared back," says Novak. "The use of earthy tones throughout the house, such as dark brown, dark grey, and driftwood, provides visual continuity."

The subdued tones of the interior also reflect the simple, straightforward design, and the choice of materials.

"There is a modesty about the house, which fits with the clients' brief for a casual relaxing holiday home," says the architect.

First published date: 30 March 2006

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Credit List

Architect Simon Novak, NZIA, and Andrew Mirams, Novak and Middleton Architects (Wellington)
Main contractor Bernie Purcell, Amtech Construction
Kitchen manufacturer Lindsay Joinery
Cladding Cedar weatherboard from Herman Pacific; corrugated aluminium weatherboard from Nu Wall
Roofing ColorSteel
Door and window joinery Elite
Flooring Polished concrete; timber tongue and groove
Paints Resene
Lighting ECC
Heating Underfloor; Jetmaster fireplace
Blinds and curtains The Cotton Store
Dining table Mainly Chairs
Dining chairs ECC
Home automation Smitch System
Kitchen benchtops Brushed stainless steel on rewarewa timber
Splashback Dark chocolate back-painted glass
Cabinets White Melteca; rewarewa timber
Oven, cooktop and rangehood Fisher & Paykel
Refrigerator Whirlpool
Dishwasher Smeg
Kitchen tapware Paini Cox
Bathroom vanities Custom designed by Novak and Middleton Architects
Bathtub Englefield
Bathroom tapware and shower fittings Paini Cox Main photography by Matthew Williams Kitchen photograph by Simon Novak