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This relaxed home has plenty of areas in which to unwind

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Everyone enjoys being on holiday, but it never lasts forever. However for the architect of this newly built rural residence, the brief was exactly that.

Architect Wulf Borrmeister was approached by the owners of a flat, low site in rural Marlborough, which already featured a small residence and swimming pool. The homeowners were now seeking a second, larger dwelling with the intent of moving to the property permanently and working from home.

Borrmeister says that the existing house sat appropriately on the landscape, and he wanted the new dwelling to have the same sense of belonging.

"I wanted this home to continue the theme of becoming part of the environment, while also linking visually with the existing structure. As the site is flat and low, it was also important to create some more visual interest on the land."

Borrmeister decided to create a flat-roofed contemporary dwelling, featuring natural materials and incorporating extensive outdoor living spaces.


"It was crucial that the design was timeless, while also being easy to live in," says Borrmeister. To achieve this, he specified low-maintenance, natural finishes.

Borrmeister says that an excellent working relationship with the builder, Clarke Construction, aided the process.

The main form of the house appears as a series of stacked boxes, clad in horizontal slat cedar. This gives the house an appropriately rustic feel, as the cedar will weather with time.

The house incorporates an entranceway, open plan kitchen and dining area, separate living room and a study, to allow the owners the option to work from home.

A copper front door ties the new house to the existing structure, on which copper features on the exterior.

A long corridor also creates a central spine in the new house, extending from the entranceway right through the kitchen and dining areas. This establishes a connection between the internal and external environments.

The fireplace in the living room continues this theme, with its grey plaster finish visible on both the inside and the outside of the house.

The adjoining garage was constructed in concrete and plaster, creating a design feature. This contrasts the timber cladding on the rest of the house.

The architect says that in order to create a relaxed mood, outdoor living was paramount. He constructed three courtyards, the first visible from the entranceway. The other two courtyard areas feature on both the east and west sides of the house.

"The home is essentially framed by these outdoor living areas," says Borrmeister.

"The two outdoor spaces off the kitchen area allow the homeowners year-round outdoor living. The courtyard to the east offers protection from the westerly wind and is excellent for use in the summertime. The courtyard on the western side is a sun trap in the winter."

Cedar pergolas extend from all sides of the house, providing additional shade and creating visual continuity between the indoor and outdoor living areas.

The architect also specified high-level sliding windows on each side of the kitchen and dining pavilion, creating natural ventilation and the opportunity for a breeze to be felt through the house.

Borrmeister installed a window seat in the dining area, creating a place for the owners to feel as if they were in the garden from inside the house.

The master suite sits on the upper level, allocating the homeowners a private space away from the living and working areas beneath. It features a large master bedroom with ensuite, and is the only bedroom attached to the main house.

Its elevated position allows for views over the property and the Marlborough vineyards beyond. The site's original smaller house is used as additional accommodation for family and guests.

"Ultimately, I wanted the homeowners to feel as if they were always away on holiday. The house is designed to be a relaxed and easy place to live year-round," says Borrmeister.

First published date: 11 May 2012

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Credit List

Architect Wulf Borrmeister (NZIA), Borrmeister Architects (Christchurch)
Builder Ant Clarke, Clarke Construction
Kitchen manufacturer Hagley Joinery
Landscape designer Christo Saggers, Northridge Landscape Design
Cladding Herman Pacific
Roofing Contour Roofing
Tiling Geoff Palatchies tiles, spazioCasa
Flooring Oak from spazioCasa
Lighting Lighthouse, Accent Lighting
Paint Resene
Fireplace Jetmaster
Doors and windows Hagley, Vantage Aluminium
Window and door hardware Sopers
Kitchen benchtop Hafele infinity
Kitchen cabinetry White beech veneer
Kitchen splashback Tasman Glass
Kitchen taps Edward Gibbons
Bathroom fixtures and fittings Edward Gibbons