Designed by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects and located in Blenheim, Marlborough, New Zealand, the concept for this private residence was to create a home that was inviting to guests while at the same time take advantage of the sunlight and views of the hills beyond. The entry is representational of arms extended in a welcoming gesture and is clad in weathered steel walls as a nod to traditional construction materials. The second floor of the home holds the bedrooms and bathrooms and a large timbered screen offers either privacy when closed, or shade when opened. On the lower level a wall of glass can also be opened up for a complete indoor / outdoor experience.
From a distance the home, while contemporary in lines and layout, settles comfortably into the landscape due to the use of warm wood and weathered steel. The materials tie the home in with the surrounding more traditional buildings and also blend nicely with the foliage of the lush forest it peaks forth from.
The main floor of the home opens up to the outdoors via sliding floor to ceiling glass panels and the tiled deck extends the indoor / outdoor experience to the field of grass. Just inside the home the far wall of the living area is clad in plywood panels as a natural touch. The Second level of the home is covered in a large expanse of wooden louvers that provide shade and privacy to the bedrooms while still allowing a view out to the landscape.
The louvers can be opened up for a more unobstructed view from the decks off of the three bedrooms and in the up position the louvers convert into sunshades.
The tiled deck is a continuation of the tiles used on the inside of the sliding glass panels as is the plywood overhang and ceiling. Here, the home is opened up for a long expanse of living space that houses a huge dining area, suspended fireplace and living area. This section of the home is accessed via 2 stairs that also run the length of the building. Plywood clad beams support the ceiling while the back plywood wall is set up as storage.
The space between the plywood columns and back wall acts as an access hallway. While traversing the hall ample storage presents itself through the use of built-ins. The built-ins consist of both open shelving and drawers and can be used for both display and storage.
The plywood wall also exposes the kitchen through a cut out allowing for easy transfer of food to the dining area two steps down.
The dining area is set for 18 people and a cluster of capsule pendants above the over sized table are spaced and staggered so the complete table is lit up when necessary Because 5 pendants are used over the table, the silhouette and colours are kept simple so as not to overpower the incredible views beyond the glass wall.
A free floating fireplace separates the dining from the living area. The living area is smaller and cozier then the super sized dining space, Here a simple gathering of a couch and 3 chairs comprises the layout with the addition of a side and coffee table. The plaid area rug creates an interesting pattern against the raw plywood and landscape.
When the sun goes down the views become less of a dominant feature to the home. This is when the lighting takes centre stage. Dramatic spots flood the entrance in a welcoming come hither manner while the strategic use of lighting in the living area says, “I’m glad you came, please stay awhile.”
The floor plan of the living area shows how the kitchen connects to the hall that connects to that incredible table. There is also a small deck off of the kitchen, perfect for Barbequing. On the other end of the hall is the stairwell to the upper level as well as a powder room an side door to the outside.
The floor plan of the upper level exposes how each of the three bedrooms has its own ensuite, while at the same time there is a hallway washroom for the other rooms.
Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects