Paihia Retreat

About This Project

We were approached in 2013 by a Northland farming couple whose brief began
with , “ steep , small , awkward site with large public drains in two directions
crossing the site, but a superb coastal section with expansive views of the Bay of
Islands “ and a question , “what can you with it and do you want the commission?”.
It took a full 6 years to complete the home and has undergone minor modifications
and treatments during occupancy but has become a cathartic lifestyle change for a
hard working farming couple who enjoy entertaining a large extended family at
any time of the year. It isn’t just a summer retreat , it is a home for all seasons. The
home needed to cater for retirement with as much living space as possible on the
main level for the owner couple but cater for large visiting family groups and
friends and include a bunk room.
Another designer had provided a plan prior to our involvement which provided the
anti-brief – “ we don’t want this ! “.
The cedar clad , metal roofed home, design and build process was a very intensive
collaboration between owner , architect design team and a very capable builder with
excellent communication skills. As with all projects , there were inherent difficulties
brought on by site , budget and programme constraints and the process had its
moments with the architect taught a valuable lesson – listen and understand your
client’s concerns and motivation, and keep that foremost in your Architect’s mind.
The home has provided an amazing sense of retreat and privacy , taking full
advantage of the sweeping views across the Bay using a twist in the form to
create a bifocal approach with main bedroom and ensuite having views to the
north west past the foreground island , separated from the living areas by a bridge
over the hot tub, a moat concept , and a sliding shutter screen to the main covered
outdoor deck . The other focus is from the living and deck areas to the North east
across to Russell and beyond, the primary concept being outdoor areas that can
become extended living spaces when the home population grows in any weather
The home brings a true sense of rest and comfort , opening out to the Bay and its
many personalities , and has provided “ a place to come to” in times of both
tribulation and peace. A home that is a credit to the owners and their legacy.

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