When a prime section presents itself, it’s an opportunity to do something really special, and this section at the top of Waiwera Hill was a particularly unique proposition.

The site takes in 360-degree views over to the Wenderholm Reserve, as far up the estuary as the eye can see, and across to Waiwera Beach and to Whangaparaoa Peninsula.

As well as a sizeable 380sqm home with a guest wing, the client required the design to meet as many passive house criteria as possible. This meant the foundation was set on a rib raft slab and the timber structure is comprised of 190mm wall framing throughout (typical wall framing is 90mm), which was specifically designed to incorporate all of the small design details such as recessed gutters, wool insulation, and Intello building wrap, which ensures air tightness. These passive house design features improve the thermal performance of the home.

Yet while passive design principles were important, the aesthetic of the home was not at all compromised. The various wings of the home create an almost haphazard arrangement of gabled forms – each taking in their own view – and all connected by a flat-roofed pavilion.

Visitors to the home are greeted by two stone clad pillars accentuating volume and light, and are led through two oversized glass and steel doors into a beautiful gallery space.

The master bedroom is located directly to the left, with views out to the Waiwera Estuary, and it features a generous walk-in wardrobe and designer bathroom with freestanding bath.

Down the hallway a second bedroom sits on the north-east elevation, which has its own deck. Further down the hall on the west elevation there’s a study “for her”: a stunningly designed powder room with candy pink and white-striped walls with a pink vessel stone basin and pink glass pendant to match. A hidden flush-mount steel and glass pane cavity slider divides the hallway and bedrooms from the living and kitchen area.

The living space is the biggest space of the home and boasts an open-plan floor area with high gable ceiling and large joinery units on every wall to let in the natural light. Both the north and east elevations have covered-in outdoor spaces which give the illusion that you are floating on the edge of the cliff.

A self-contained guest wing also features a kitchenette in a similar material palette, along with two double bedrooms leading onto a deck and bathroom, looking down the estuary and out to the Waiwera Beach and bluff.

The stepped nature of the design and various different rooflines and building forms meant the build had its challenges, so attention to detail was crucial. From a building perspective one of the critical design features of the build was that there was a seamless line with a negative detail between the wall cladding and roofing iron meaning that the spouting was to be hidden –we had to recess the gutters to insure they met with the wall cladding and still meet the functionality of the spouting.

Being able to bring the multiple different materials on different angles all together in a cohesive manner was a highlight of the project, as well as working with the exceptional and sophisticated client, and of course, being backed by our great team of contractors!


Jo Seton

Jono Parker