Located in York Bay, Wellington, New Zealand, this project by Paul Rolfe Architects comes as an addition to an existing house. Respectful of the natural environment, the new construction’s outside line is similar to the rest of the building. The two elements that come to define this project are the use of natural light and that of wood. Except for structural narrow pieces of wall here and there, the façades are basically made of floor-to-ceiling windows which bring natural light to every corner of the house. Some of these glass surfaces slide to give access to a wooden balcony. Therefore the artificial lighting is kept to a minimum, with a few recessed spot lights and iconic pendant lamps over the dining table and the kitchen counter. Wood is used both horizontally and vertically. The floor is covered with wide and long planks in a warm reddish essence. The planks are laid both north-south and east-west, like to indicate the way around the house. In the living area the wall opposite the glass wall is paneled in wood of the same essence, as if the architect tried to create some kind of symbolic symmetry with the outside landscape.
The floor of the living area is slightly recessed and covered with anthracite carpet, which gives it even more depth. The higher wooden floor level continues along and around the glass wall to create a bench-like structure. Seating on cozy pillows, one can seat around the fire, watch TV or simply contemplate the forest outside.
From the living area two steps lead to a podium-like floor, going by the cubic metallic wood-burning stove.
The dining table is massive and covered with floor planks. It is surrounded by comfortable padded leather armchairs, in a warm brown tone.
The materials used for the kitchen change from the rest of the house, they are colder stainless steel and glossy white panels. The working surface and the peninsula are covered in stainless steel, while the rest of the furniture is glossy white. The three bright yellow metal stools bring in an industrial touch.
This is one of the initial sketches, which was slightly modified in the process.