David Beattie wanted to design and build something for the piece of land in Bowentown he and his wife bought several years ago. “We wanted a dramatic, striking, earthy house that was simple but bold,” says David.
The couple believe strongly in the power of good architecture and asked Hamilton-based firm Edwards White Architects to design something that would maximise the site and the view. As an experienced, semi-retired builder himself, David wanted to work on the project so once the design was decided he had a small, local team of builders frame up and close in the house then David took on the bulk of the remaining work himself.
The street-facing, oiled cedar exterior’s stark geometry, seeming absence of windows and fortress-like appearance belies what is to come inside the house – and from the sea-facing side of the home. David likes the starkness of the house from the street. And the absence of windows along the right side of the home means their privacy won’t be sacrificed should they choose to subdivide.
Through the Vantage Matt Black Plasma entrance door, up the hand-sawn macrocarpa stairs and the three-bedroom, two-bathroom house opens up to breathtaking views of the sprawling sand dunes, which eventually gives way to the sea.
The open-plan kitchen, dining and living has raked Matt Black Vantage windows from Metro Series, that extend beyond the ceiling and across the width of the living space, allowing a close connection to the environment. Double-glazed with a low emissivity coating for better heat control, the wall of windows also has low awning windows of solid powder-coated aluminium, an architectural feature that the couple delight in.
The awning windows also function as natural air conditioning. “The neighbours told us in summer the heat would melt candles.” Accordingly, they ensured plenty of ventilation. When the bi-fold doors on to upstairs deck are opened, along with another low awning window opposite the wall of windows the draft is most welcome.
Downstairs, two further Metro Series sliding doors open to the courtyard deck and the narrow deck that runs the width of the house facing the sand dunes. Instead of well-tended lawn, David did his own landscaping, a mass of bunny tails and tangle of native flaxes so you step off the deck right into that rugged landscape.
It doesn’t get much better for the couple than this combination of nature and good architecture. “I wish I’d come down here 30 years ago,” says David.