The approach to David Beattie and Cindy Bradley’s bach is unassuming. Passing a mix of modest baches and the more grandiose plaster holiday homes of Bowentown, south of Waihi Beach, and the dramatic proportions of their home suddenly stands out from its seaside neighbours.
“We wanted a dramatic, striking, earthy house that was simple but bold. We didn’t want it to ooze money,” says David. 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.
“At the front we’ve got suburbia and at the back we sit in raw nature.”
“It’s like balm for the soul,” says David of the feeling of being in nature. It’s something the couple and their two children, Emma, 24, and Adam, 22, reflect on whenever they can get away from their Auckland base.
David makes the most of the activities the area offers such as fishing and surfing, while the couple love taking long walks along the coast. But it’s also the architectural features, such as the ply walls and ceilings, he spends time contemplating when he’s here.
The couple believe strongly in the power of good architecture and asked Hamilton-based firm Edwards White Architects to design something for the piece of land they bought several years ago.
The response was a triangular design with its enclosed entrance but, once inside the interior is light-filled with vistas across those windswept sand dunes.
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.
The house may be architecturally designed but David maintains it’s still a family bach and as such, they’ve filled it with whatever they could get their hands on. “We have an eclectic mix of furniture we’ve acquired from family. It has that bach feel where you find what you can.”
Admittedly, the furniture isn’t your usual hand-me-downs, it’s seriously good mid-century pieces. The pedestal dining table with matching chairs, as well as the sofa and chairs, both upstairs and downstairs were chosen by Cindy from her father’s estate. An American architect, his taste in furniture was second-to-none, as was her grandmother’s, a serious furniture collector. The original Tiffany lampshade suspended over the dining table was hers, as was two of the handmade quilts on the beds. There are also three framed early 20th-century photographs of the area, taken by David’s pioneering photographer grandfather hanging proudly on a wall.
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.