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View to the future

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This beach house has been designed to ensure it will enjoy the outlook now and in time as more houses are built

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The rule of thumb that your view is only truly yours if you have the front section is largely correct, but sometimes, by thinking outside the square, it is possible to protect your views for the future.

The owners of this beach property north of Auckland called on architect Frans Kamermans to design a home that would provide them with sightlines in years to come.

The site was in the second row of a subdivision in the new part of an existing beach resort. Building restrictions included height restrictions and setbacks on side boundaries of homes on the front sites, and the site had its own 2m-wide access path to the beach.

The solution is a property that offers two opportunities to enjoy the outlook – now and when the subdivision fills up. One sightline is at ground level through a 6m-wide viewing corridor between the houses in front, and the other, the result of height restrictions on homes in the front row, is from the top level of the house.

"Making the most of these factors was a key element of the brief, and led to the final design, which is for a split- level house built on four floors," says Kamermans.

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The main living areas, dining room, kitchen and covered terrace, are contained in a large, elevated, wedge-shaped structure that – like a camera lens – looks down the viewing corridor to the beach.

To introduce extra volume into the living area, the wedge widens along both its horizontal and vertical planes. This creates space for extra-large glass doors across the front of the living room and – because the shape replicates the effect of a wide-angle lens on a camera – the view opens out.

"The wedge is the main living area of the house; it is the space where the owners spend most of their time, so it was important for it to be comfortable and private," says Kamermans.

To maximise views above the future front row of houses, the master bedroom was located in an oval-shaped structure above the kitchen and dining area. A stairwell in the oval contains the front door and entrance area, and links through to a third structure – a cube – that contains four bedrooms, a double garage, laundry and bathrooms.

The wedge is clad in stained timber; the oval, with a design concept inspired by a surf lifeguard watchtower, is in red Colorsteel, and the cube is plastered and painted white.

"Each section of the house has its own shape and materials, creating a sculptural and playful composition," says Kamermans.

The interior design of the house is contemporary in style, but it also has a warm and comfortable ambience.

"We wanted the living areas to have a lived-in, homely feel," says the architect.

Interior colours echo the exterior finishes, with walls painted white, red furnishings, and dark-stained timber used for the floor, dining table, bar stools and occasional tables.

To create a feeling of warmth, the living and dining areas are filled with upholstered dining chairs and big, rounded, padded retro-style chesterfield sofas. Lightening this dark base are smaller, bright elements such as red fabric seats on the dining chairs and bar stools that reflect the finish of the oval.

Outside the landscaping follows the same theme, with dark brown and red flaxes planted around the house.

First published date: 24 February 2011

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Credit List

Architect, kitchen designer Frans Kamermans NZIA, Kamermans & Co Architects (Auckland)
Interior designer, landscape designer Lynne Pascall, Kamermans & Co
Builder A & F Sibbing, CBANZ
Kitchen manufacturer, built-in cabinetry, interior doors, staircases Matakana Kitchens & Joinery, MJA
Cladding Plaster over blockwork by Concept Cladding; band-sawn cedar weatherboards by Herman Pacific; ARX Colour by Calder & Stewart Industries
Roofing Hitchins Index Elastocene from Auckland Waterproofing Services
Tiling European Ceramics & Stone
Flooring Stained American oak from SpazioCasa
Paints, varnishes Resene; Dulux
Painters Daniel Green, Mike Fleming
Heating Mitsubishi Electric heat pump from Air Con North Auckland
Window/door hardware Vantage Metro and Architectural series from Composite Joinery
Blinds Creative Curtains & Blinds
Furniture Most custom designed by Frans Kamermans
Audiovisual equipment Matakana Coast Electrical
Kitchen cabinetry Resene
Benchtops Granite Pacifica
Bathroom vanity Stained Tasmanian oak from Matakana Kitchens & Joinery
Taps, shower fittings Grohe from Patterson Trading; Methven from Placemakers
Hot water system Sunz Solar Energy Specialists
Lighting Lighthouse
Outdoor paving Hunters Schist from Stone Direct
Landscaping supplier Danscape
Decking Herman Pacific
Plants Liberty Park Nursery
Garden bench Frans Kamermans