Wanaka Family Home

A modern and versatile new home in Wanaka

This project is a new home build in Wanaka for a family of six – four children and their parents. To accommodate the different ages and stages, and how the family members might use their space, we designed a home with different zones. There is privacy and versatility, while also a sense of cohesion around focal points like the swimming pool and outdoor living areas.

The Brief

The first priority for our clients was to have a property big enough for everyone to be at home quite comfortably. The eldest daughter will be heading away to university soon, but the family wanted enough space for her when she was back for school breaks and holidays.

The second request was for an outdoor swimming pool. Because the site is relatively flat, we knew this would be achievable.

Beginning our design work, we wanted the home to be north-facing, with the living spaces looking out onto the pool and the surrounding outdoor areas. We also wanted to take advantage of the stunning views out to the mountains.

The Design

The house itself is comprised of three separate parts that surround the pool and are joined together by interesting external features. As you enter through the front door, the right-hand side of the house is made up of two levels because of the slight slope on that side of the section. The master bedroom sits on the top level with an ensuite, its own office and a gorgeous picture window that captures the view of the mountains. On the lower level is the garage, tucked away nicely in an unobtrusive way. The other bedrooms and bathrooms on this side of the house complete the more private areas of the home.

On the left side of the house, the north-facing side, we have the core of the home that contains what we often refer to as the public spaces or common areas. Here we have an entertainer's kitchen, and the dining and living rooms that look out onto the pool. Facing north, these rooms are flooded with a gorgeous afternoon glow when the sun is shining. A cosy nook on the side of the living room with an inbuilt window seat provides a remarkable view of the mountains.

These private and public zones of the house are stitched together by a long corridor that guides you through the home. This passageway is covered by a raised, glass portion of the roof, so even though you are indoors, it feels like you're walking outside.

As you near the end of this long hallway, it converts into an external covered corridor leading out to the pool and deck. The flow from inside to outside is seamless and subtle, while also providing a sheltered outdoor space.

Further along, sitting at the end of this block, is the third living space. It is a self-contained, one-bedroom unit that sits beside the main part of the house. It can be used by the older daughter when she's home from uni, or it can serve as an income-generating rental unit, as we've designed it to comply with the planning requirements of the site.

While this unit is separate and private with the doors closed, it can be opened up on the north side so that it feels like part of the main house and pool area. The versatility exists because of how we've designed the indoor and outdoor spaces to weave together, while also allowing them to be closed off for privacy.

Our clients were very specific in their desired look, requesting a modern style showcasing raw concrete and timber. We were able to incorporate that design aesthetic into our structural designs, seamlessly blending form and function.

Externally, the house is made of concrete and timber, with the main slab cantilevered over the ground. Strategically placed wide steps and pavers leading down towards the grass help create the illusion that the house is lifted and almost floating above the land.

A roof overhang in several places provides shelter and a windbreaker for the outdoor spaces. Large sliding doors allow the family to open or close off sections depending on the weather and how they're using their space.

Inside, we've continued the timber elements to create warmth within the concrete and glass. It's a beautiful blend of components that make it sometimes tricky to know where the divide between inside and outside lies.

The Result

The layout and design elements of this home make it a unique and modern family residence. While there is room for everyone to have their own space and privacy, there is also a cohesive feel created by the building materials and the focal areas of the pool and deck.

The self-contained unit gives the family flexibility over how they use that space, depending on whether they want to reserve it for their eldest daughter or use it as a rental unit. It's a beautiful home they can enjoy for many years.

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