Going from living in a small apartment in Singapore to a 400sqm home on a lifestyle block in Raglan is extreme. But, for one couple and their daughters, that’s exactly what they did.
“They were after a lifestyle change and they enjoy water sports. I think that was part of the appeal of living in Raglan, which obviously has some pretty nice surf,” explains Brian White of Edwards White Architects.
Designing a large house in such a strong, powerful landscape, the intention was to have it recede comfortably into the landscape rather than having a big statement on the hill. “When you’re down in Raglan township and looking back up at the house, it’s actually quite hard to find. I’m often a little disappointed, thinking where is it?” he jokes.
Once the four-bedroom home, complete with a swimming pool surrounded by a moat, an indoor sauna and outdoor hot tub is in view, the cedar-clad house is deliberately quite stark and punchy – a response to the family’s appreciation of modern, clean forms.
Inside, the house welcomes and opens out into private and public spaces in a pinwheel plan in which you enter from the centre. “The other spaces radiate out from that, so you’re not walking miles up and down the house,” says Edwards White architect Harry Croucher.
The house was always intended to be a hospitable space in which the family of four could live in easily, whether they’re just hanging out by the pool or having a barbecue in the recessed covered space with views overlooking the Rangitahi Peninsula.
But because they enjoy hosting people, the space can be transformed for large gatherings of 50 or so people without it feeling cramped by opening the 11-metre floor-to-ceiling stacking APL Architectural Series sliding door, which slides away into a cavity creating a completely open wall.
“They allow us to dissolve the threshold on the main living space,” says Brian. The result is seamless, leaving absolutely nothing separating the house from its grand west coast environment.
When Brian and Harry and returned to the house as guests, the owners were just “so stoked with the place”. “They were just raving about it,” says Brian of the large house, which caters for an active lifestyle but also manages to maintain an intimate family feel.