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With its cedar exterior and large, barn-like form, this coastal home takes its cue from both the traditional bach and more contemporary designs

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Your holiday home by the coast is where you relax, away from the world – a tranquil spot where you can gaze at the sea and smell the salty air. But creating the right mix of hideaway and family home sometimes calls for a design that is every bit as sophisticated as your main residence.

This holiday home, built on a grassy expanse of farmland near the sea, combines simple rural forms with a complex series of spaces on different levels, says architect Dominic Glamuzina.

"I wanted to design the main living space as a barn-like form, with a sense of separation for the children's living and sleeping area, and the guest rooms. My aim was to be faithful to the informality of a bach, but with a living room on a scale and size that is more like a family home."

Glamuzina has separated the main living area from the other two zones with a glazed walkway positioned at right angles to the main building. The front elevation of the building has an open feel, with extensive glazing and custom-made cedar doors that slide open to the exterior.

"People can just walk out and wander down to the beach. There is no fence around the property, as I wanted it to have a soft exit," he says.

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The land is flat, so Glamuzina cut into the site to create different levels. A courtyard is positioned 1.5m below ground level for privacy and shelter, with steps leading to an opening in the walkway. Beyond this are a tennis court and orchard. Another set of steps leads to a small deck that forms an extension to the outdoor living area, and inside, more steps go down to a sunken winter lounge.

"I wanted to create several spatial options, so I introduced steps to underline the changes between the spaces," says Glamuzina. "After the project was complete, what struck me most was the sense of complexity in the spatial arrangements and, from the materials used, an impression of softness."

Materials for the exterior include Western red cedar board, aluminium roofing with a wide tray, and basalt bluestone for the chimney and pool walls. Timber louvres were installed to close the house up when the family is away, or to provide additional privacy when they are staying.

Internally, a similar material palette is evident. Plywood panels on the walls and American oak floorboards, all tongue and groove, echo the cedar planking outside.

"The owners and I looked at Scandinavian building styles, which have lots of woodwork and fine fabrication. Western red cedar suggests a bach – once installed, it weathers well with no need for painting. Soft white paint on the walls and rafters of the gabled roof unifies the complex structure and keeps the interiors light."

The kitchen, designed by Sonja Hawkins, is a pivotal part of the home. From here, the homeowners can look through the winter lounge to the children's area, and view the pool and outdoor spaces. Anchoring this space is a large 4.5m-long kitchen island.

"The island is very long, but it is not just a solid mass – it provides a point of interest as well as storage, and the open shelving adds to the informality," she says. "Additional storage in the walk-in pantry to the left of the fridge is handy for hiding away appliances and holiday supplies."

Furnishings are an eclectic mix of modern and more traditional pieces. Lusty's Lloyd Loom wicker furniture in the outdoor living space provides a contrast with the contemporary Italian green armchairs in the living area and the semi-tropical print covering the sofa.

"The different seating styles add interest and a more informal feel – having everything matching can be quite twee and staid. Also, the homeowners' permanent home is a 1920s house with an English cottage feel, and they wanted more of a holiday atmosphere here. I chose fabric and furnishings that would develop this look, and contribute to the home's light and open qualities."

The guest area has a shower room with a double stable-style door, allowing visitors to shower in privacy or with views of the outdoors.

Although the ocean is only a few steps away, the homeowners wanted a pool and adjacent spa on site. To avoid safety fencing, the architect has raised the pool 1.2m above ground, so that the walls take the place of fencing. A diving board adds a touch of holiday fun.

First published date: 12 September 2008

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Credit List

Architect Dominic Glamuzina, Glamuzina Paterson Architecture (Auckland)
Interior designer Sonja Hawkins
Builder Greenway Homes
Cladding Cedar
Roofing Colorsteel
Tiling Heritage Tiles
Flooring Travertine from SCE Stone; bleached American oak from CTC
Paints and varnishes Images
Lighting ECC Lighting
Doors and windows Clearline
Blinds and drapes Curtain Craft
Furniture Designers Collection and Paradigm; table by Mark Urlich, Kauri House
Audiovisual equipment and speakers Eastern Hi-Fi
Home automation Dean Bartlett Electrical
Kitchen manufacturer and cabinetry Avenue 15 Kitchens
Benchtops Stonex
Splashback Glass
Taps LG Carder
Oven and cooktop Ilve
Refrigeration GE
Dishwasher Asko
Pool surround Hardwood Decking from CTC
Pool cleaner Coastal Pools
Outdoor furniture Duomo
Paving Travertine from SCE Stone
Landscaping and plants Elite Gardens
Decking CTC
Stonework Casmark Landscaping