Taupo Family Bach

Cost effective Family Bach in Taupo

Our project here was to design a family bach for clients in Taupo – a space for three generations to enjoy near the lake. A note for our non-Kiwi readers: A bach is a holiday home – also known as a cottage, crib, cabin – any kind of home away from home

The Brief

The family we worked with here owned a section of land that they had been coming to for several years, yet they didn’t have a permanent holiday home on the site. They were essentially camping on their land, in a set-up that they described to us as a “permanently stored camper van”. Feeling that the time was right to build something more enduring, the family came to us with clear ideas of what they had envisioned for their property.

First of all, they wanted a bach that was relatively simple, easy to maintain and comfortable – a home that carried on the “camping” feel of their holidays so far. Next, it also had to accommodate the different generations of the family staying together – a couple and their three sons, along with grandparents who enjoyed holidaying with them. They wanted a bach that would enable them to spend time together, but that would also provide space and solitude when desired.

Lastly, the brief was to design something that was going to be cost-effective. The husband here is a registered builder who planned to build the bach himself, with the help of some friends and the older sons.

In many ways, this was a dream project for us. We love it when a client has such clear ideas of what they want and who are passionate about the design and build process.

The Design

To satisfy all elements of the brief, we designed this bach with a few clear zones in mind – sleeping, living and dining, along with a sleep-out for the grandparents. The internal layout consists of a master bedroom and ensuite down one side of the house. Beside that is a larger bunk room that serves as a spacious bedroom and playroom for the children and any friends or family they have over. On the other side of the house are the kitchen, dining and living areas – all looking out over a north-facing courtyard.

Through purposeful design of space, we were able to create a large enough area for three boys to hang out in, while also creating a separate relaxation zone at the other end of the house where their mother can enjoy a quiet bath with a private view out to the bush. (This was her one request of the design, and we were happy to accommodate!) The external layout and design of this property take into account the family’s love of nature and the outdoors. The house opens out onto the existing garden and wraps around a courtyard that can be used all year round. This is made possible by a central (removable) shade sail that connects the different living quarters. With this configuration, the family can host large gatherings and meals while enjoying the outdoor space for dining and entertaining.

The planned grapevines that will separate the house from the road not only serve as an attractive barrier; they are also a nice tribute to previous generations of the family who were winemakers. The vines are a fantastic, cost-effective way to create a boundary – the family can put the wires in place and then plant them when they’re ready, getting the children involved in this part of the project. Once the vines mature, the house will look completely different – which was also part of the brief. The owners wanted something unique so that the house didn’t look like any other house on the street. Rather than adding on an additional sleeping quarter, our design incorporates a separate sleep-out for the grandparents to enjoy. It’s close enough to the rest of the house so that they feel connected to the family, while also giving them a sense of their own space and privacy. This design also provides the option of building this portion of the house as a separate project if the husband decides to undertake it as an independent construction stage.

The Result

Our designs centred around materials that were cost-effective and easy to use. The wall cladding is vertical timber board and batten, lined with white-washed plywood that gives the owners flexibility to decorate however they like. A long, straight metal roof is easy to build for this DIY builder. And the raked ceiling gives the house a sense of extra height and larger space.

The plan we ended up with is aesthetically pleasing, simple in design and easy to build. It gives the family the freedom to come together or have separate, quiet time. It makes the most of the surrounding landscape and garden, and preserves that “camping” feeling that the family associates with the section.

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