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Subtle blend

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Traditional building materials help this holiday home fit in with its environment


Beachside houses are often designed to make minimum impact on the natural environment. However, for a house to truly blend in with its surroundings, it's necessary to consider the whole picture, not just its relationship to nature.

The owners of this two-storey holiday home wanted their house to fit in with both natural and man-made environments, says architect Nick Bevin, from Bevin + Slessor Architects.

"The clients didn't want a house that would stand out too much from the neighbouring houses, yet they wanted a modern and functional design. In this community, the houses are in a rough line, so they also didn't want to be looking across people," he says.

While the house design is noticeably distinct from its neighbours, Bevin says incorporating traditional building materials, such as board and batten, and Colorsteel – materials used on neighbouring houses – helped it subtly blend in.

"Because of the aggressive coastal environment, the selection of exterior materials was also based on durability and low maintenance qualities. The natural palette of colours also helped the house blend with its surroundings," he says.


The clients' request for an interior space large enough to accommodate a family of five, with extra room for guests, was achieved on the ground floor with an open-plan design for the kitchen and living areas. Large bifold aluminium doors allow the extension of the living area onto the deck and give an uninterrupted 180° outlook.

Upstairs, the master bedroom also takes in views, while an adjacent bunkroom provides four extra beds. The small living room in the north-west corner provides an overflow area that can also be used for accommodation.

A boat shed at the rear of the site houses utilities such as the laundry, shower and toilet. The sheltered barbecue area between the house and boat shed features two stainless steel sinks – used for cleaning fish – and an outdoor shower.

First published date: 30 August 2005

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Credit List

Architect Nick Bevin, NZIA, Bevin + Slessor Architects (Wellington)
Builder Tony Lepelaars Builder
Interior designer Architect and client
Kitchen designer Bevin + Slessor Architects
Kitchen manufacturer Stephen Jensen Cabinet Makers
Window and door joinery Nelson Nu-Look Aluminium and FL Bone
Cladding Corrugated Colorsteel from Turfrey BR, and board and batten
Flooring Eucalyptus Fastigata from Selective Timbers
Paints Resene
Lighting ECC Lighting
Heating Metro wood burner
Cabinets Spray lacquer MDF
Benchtops and splashback Ground concrete from HB Lattey Civil Engineers
Hot water system Rheem
Decking Massara from Selective Timbers