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This home encapsulates the important elements of a typical vacation - sun, water and outdoor living


If you had to pick the characteristics of an ideal vacation home, what would they be? Lots of room for family and friends, and sheltered living spaces that make the most of the outdoors would surely be at the top of your list.

For the owners of this waterfront home, their wish list also included incorporating the robust, convivial spirit, typical of a holiday retreat, but without the traditional shortcomings, says Tony Koia of Koia Architects.

The clients were two long-term friends that wanted a holiday home that both their families could enjoy together.

"Comfortable indoor-outdoor living, ample space for everyone to be together without ending up under each other's feet and easy access to water sports were all important," says Koia.

This award-winning house is located alongside a canal and faces the prevailing winds, therefore sheltered living areas that didn't compromise the outlook were a priority. Two simple box-like forms and a roof suspended over a glazed living area provide three sides to an enclosed courtyard, says the architect.


"You enter the home between the two sheds, moving along the courtyard and opening into an expansive living area. The home changes from one of enclosure to one of openness, climaxing around the double-sided fireplace."

Aesthetically, the building is quite different from its neighbors. It draws its inspiration not from the suburban-style vernacular, but from waterfront wharf sheds. The house is clad in vertical planks of shiplap weatherboard to subtly accentuate this image.

"A simple, utilitarian structure is presented to the street, providing a secure and intentionally uninviting aspect. A single tree softens this and provides an iconic presence," says Koia.

The interior spaces of the house spill out onto a series of separate outdoor areas. The sheltered courtyard along one side of the house provides alfresco dining that's enhanced by an outdoor fireplace.

An outdoor kitchen with a fish smoker and lobster-cooking facilities takes center stage on the other side of the house. Punctuating the glazed wall of the open-plan living area that overlooks the water is a double-sided fireplace.

"When viewed from the water, the fire's flickering flames provide a strong visual cue, transforming the front terrace into a warm, inviting outdoor space," says the architect.

Along with multi-sliding glazed doors, honed concrete floors help to create a seamless transition between the indoor and outdoor living spaces.

The layout of the home is ideally suited to the needs of two families. At the rear of the first level, the bedrooms/bunkrooms overlook the courtyard, and can accommodate up to 12. Upstairs, two master bedroom suites offer a retreat for the adults.

First published date: 08 October 2004

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Credit List

Architect Tony Koia, NZIA, Koia Architects (Auckland)
Interior design Koia Architects
Builder Keith Hayward
Structural engineer Anthony Marino
Steel manufacturer Storey Engineering
Landscaping Pauanui Garden Centre
Aluminium joinery First Windows and Doors
Window/door hardware Phoenix Furniture
Cladding Pinex standard shiplap weatherboard
Roof Butynol
Tiling Artedomus
Flooring Honed concrete
Wallcoverings Gib and Seratone
Paints Resene
Lighting Astrum Lighting
Heating Devi underfloor heating
Fireplaces Custom-designed by Koia Architects, manufactured by Living Flame
Kitchen manufacturer Young Design
Taps Paini Cox from LG Carder
Oven and dishwasher Smeg
Ventilation Robinhood
Waste unit Whirlaway
Bathroom cabinetry Young Design
Basin, toilet and bidet LG Carder
Flowers Vida Flores