Langana Avenue

Architecturally Designed double gabled, four bedroom house in Auckland

This is an exciting new build project that we’re working on at the moment. We started off discussing renovations, but after reviewing a few options and the client’s long-term plans, building a new forever home made more sense. The steep section presented a few challenges, but we used that to our advantage and provided amazing views from all sides of the house. The double gable design houses four bedrooms, an office space, a large entertainer’s kitchen, and a media/games room.

The Brief

When we meet with a client to discuss the potential of their home or land, we look for long-term solutions – we want to see how the ideas we come up with together fit into a bigger picture. For this project, our clients were looking at renovating to solve a couple of problems they had with their existing house.

The large 1970s family home that they own in Browns Bay, Auckland is in a superb location with unobstructed sun and beautiful views of the harbour. For several years the couple living there have tolerated a few things about the house that they aren’t happy with, however regular flooding of the ground floor was the impetus for them to start looking into renovations.

Meeting with these clients to discuss renovation ideas, we were able to point out to them a few other issues with the layout and orientation of the house that we could adjust if they were keen on staying there long term. Because of the prime location of their section, our talks soon turned into discussions about how we could make this their forever home, and what that would mean financially.

We don’t often recommend a new build in place of renovations, but in this case it was helpful to consider all the options before making a decision. What we’ve ended up with is a design for an entirely new home that is modern and dry, is laid out to for much better use of space, and takes full advantage of the views.

The Design

The existing property is a two-storey house on a fairly steep hill, so we stayed with a two-level design. We turned the orientation around, however, so that the living and entertaining areas, as well as the main deck, face the water. A larger footprint and a more cohesive layout mean we can make better use of the land on the slope that previously had a few spots that were underutilised.

As we always do, we took a good look at how these clients use their space and what their home means to them. The things that influenced our designs for this couple were the fact that they both often work from home, they like to entertain, one of them does a lot of baking, they enjoy spending time at home watching tv or playing video games with a teenage son on the weekends, and they have two dogs. One specific request this couple posed to us was to incorporate into the design a large media/games room.

What we’ve come up with is a double gable design that provides useful, attractive spaces that work well together on the section. The entrance to the house on the ground floor sits within a covered walkway that joins the two gable forms. On the level above, we’ve designed a large deck that joins the two gables and provides gorgeous views out to Rangitoto and the sea.

The gable on the right consists of a double car garage and workshop on the ground floor, with the media/games room above it on the upper level. We felt it was important not to have it right next to the living room or bedrooms so they could enjoy their media at full volume without disturbing the rest of the household. We also positioned the doors to the media room and the projector screen in a way that allows them to watch movies or play video games either from inside on the sofa or from bean bags on the deck.

The gable on the left of the entrance way, on the ground floor, includes an office space large enough for two people, a fourth bedroom, a large bathroom, and lots of storage space. A spacious stairway leads up to the living area, dining room and kitchen – the use of lots of glass here allows for the spectacular views. The kitchen is large enough to entertain comfortably in, with a long island that easily seats five and a benchtop that extends out to the deck with sliding windows so they can serve food out onto deck.

Staying on the upper level but walking down a few steps, we have a slightly separate wing from the living and dining rooms and the kitchen. This area consists of two guest bedrooms, a bathroom, laundry, powder room, and more storage space. In the north west corner we have the master bedroom with a walk-in wardrobe, ensuite bathroom, and its own private deck.

The step-down to these private areas was a clever way to separate them somewhat from the more public zones of the house, while also providing a practical design feature. We were able to follow the natural contours of the land without needing to do expensive or complex structural work.

We gave as much thought to the outside of this house as we did to the internal use of space and layout. The large entertaining deck on the east side connects the two gables, with the media room on one side and the living and dining rooms and the kitchen on the other. There is a lot of indoor-outdoor flow, as well as sufficient coverage so they can use the deck all year round, partially protected from rain or sun.

The smaller, private deck on the western side of the house is accessed from the master bedroom, yet it connects to stairs and a walkway that lead around to the back garden and the larger entertaining deck. We managed to create privacy and zones, while maintaining a feeling of cohesiveness and unity throughout the home.

We kept the materials quite simple here to work nicely with the unique design of the gable forms. Vertical Abodo timber cladding will accentuate the lines of the gables, decks and walkways. The use of glass for the balustrades provides protection from the wind without obstructing the stunning views.

The Result

When the decision was made to build a new house instead of renovating problematic sections, the aim was to include absolutely everything the clients wanted to create their dream home. This design ticks all the boxes. It makes the most of almost all of the land on the steep section, the views from the north and eastern side of the house, and the afternoon sun on the western side. It gives the family several areas to work, entertain, relax and just hang out in. And it gives them several outdoor areas to enjoy while also being protected from the weather.

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