Island life: four of the best modern Kiwi beach houses

Beach houses have come a long way from the classic Kiwi crib but many contemporary baches offer a resounding nod to the coastal vernacular of days gone by. 

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team
0FC8CFBD-C43F-4180-85D1-CF38FD5869A7Created with sketchtool.
E160A899-8C92-47FF-BB31-6DB22BCEB5D9Created with sketchtool.

Beach houses have come a long way from the classic Kiwi crib but many contemporary baches offer a resounding nod to the coastal vernacular of days gone by. While not technically classed as ‘tiny homes’, these island beach houses have small footprints with big design aims that are inspired by a simple way of life. Here are four stunning small homes by the sea.

Located on Waiheke and Great Barrier islands, these four holiday homes offer a simple way of life and direct connections to their beautiful native bush surrounds and dramatic coastal sites. Designed over the last 10 years, these contemporary Kiwi beach houses are tributes to island life, displaying coastal charm and lofty design aims that far outweigh their small footprints, ensuring they remain as relevant today as the day they were completed.  

Tent House by Chris Tate, Waiheke Island, Auckland.
Tent House by Chris Tate, Waiheke Island, Auckland.

1) Tent House, Waiheke Island, Auckland

This masterpiece in monochrome by Chris Tate is comprised of sharp lines and a triangular form. Reminiscent of a tent, the architectural form of this small holiday home is both playful and joyous. Inside, it makes clever use of the small space and sloping walls with carefully chosen statement pieces, including a spiral staircase. The minimalist aesthetic flows across the form itself and the interior decor; there is no art on the walls, no door handles, locks or architraves – the focus is on the shadows, lines and shapes created by the form itself. 

The Treehouse, Waiheke Island by Charissa Snijders Architects. Image: Peter Rees Photography; Bridget Hackshaw.
The Treehouse, Waiheke Island by Charissa Snijders Architects. Image: Peter Rees Photography; Bridget Hackshaw.

2) The Treehouse, Waiheke Island, Auckland

Reminiscent of a tramper’s hut, this timeless haven is connected closely to the elements. Designed as a place to retreat to where one can listen to the rain, to the wind in the trees, to bird song and the stillness of the night. It is a place to remind oneself of the richness that can be experienced in the simplest things in life. The Treehouse imbues the magical qualities of native forest and seeks the praise of shadows as well as the light. Its ever-changing kaleidoscope of patterns, texture and view shafts – both day and night, uplifts the senses and awakens one’s spirit for life.

Island Bach, Great Barrier Island, by Herbst Architects.
Island Bach, Great Barrier Island, by Herbst Architects.

3) Island Bach, Great Barrier Island, Auckland

The tower and pavilion of this simple yet striking form are sheathed in weathered timber, which offers both protection from the elements and a masterful engagement with the surroundings. Cleverly encapsulating both the notion of the Kiwi bach and a refined contemporary aesthetic, this is a building that offers a stunning retreat, perfectly suited to its island location.  

Interior, Island Bach, Great Barrier Island, by Herbst Architects.
Interior, Island Bach, Great Barrier Island, by Herbst Architects.

4) Wetland Folly, Great Barrier Island, Auckland

This simple pavilion designed almost a decade ago remains both a classic and relevant exploration of traditional New Zealand bach culture. Designed as an extension of space for a basic 1970s bach, this folly is uncomplicated by bedrooms or kitchens – it is simply extra space. A shelter designed as a celebration of the holiday atmosphere, its simple structural frame is clad with awnings, screens and a translucent sheet. 

Wetland Folly, Great Barrier Island, by Herbst Architects.
Wetland Folly, Great Barrier Island, by Herbst Architects.

Are you planning to build a bach? Discover more stunning contemporary beach houses and holiday home designs, connect with the architects and designers behind the country’s top holiday homes and plan your dream retreat. 

Get in touch with
ArchiPro

Request pricing/info
Visit website
Recommended reading
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Island life: four of the best modern Kiwi beach houses

Beach houses have come a long way from the classic Kiwi crib but many contemporary baches offer a resounding nod to the coastal vernacular of days gone by. 

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team
0FC8CFBD-C43F-4180-85D1-CF38FD5869A7Created with sketchtool.
E160A899-8C92-47FF-BB31-6DB22BCEB5D9Created with sketchtool.

Beach houses have come a long way from the classic Kiwi crib but many contemporary baches offer a resounding nod to the coastal vernacular of days gone by. While not technically classed as ‘tiny homes’, these island beach houses have small footprints with big design aims that are inspired by a simple way of life. Here are four stunning small homes by the sea.

Located on Waiheke and Great Barrier islands, these four holiday homes offer a simple way of life and direct connections to their beautiful native bush surrounds and dramatic coastal sites. Designed over the last 10 years, these contemporary Kiwi beach houses are tributes to island life, displaying coastal charm and lofty design aims that far outweigh their small footprints, ensuring they remain as relevant today as the day they were completed.  

Tent House by Chris Tate, Waiheke Island, Auckland.
Tent House by Chris Tate, Waiheke Island, Auckland.

1) Tent House, Waiheke Island, Auckland

This masterpiece in monochrome by Chris Tate is comprised of sharp lines and a triangular form. Reminiscent of a tent, the architectural form of this small holiday home is both playful and joyous. Inside, it makes clever use of the small space and sloping walls with carefully chosen statement pieces, including a spiral staircase. The minimalist aesthetic flows across the form itself and the interior decor; there is no art on the walls, no door handles, locks or architraves – the focus is on the shadows, lines and shapes created by the form itself. 

The Treehouse, Waiheke Island by Charissa Snijders Architects. Image: Peter Rees Photography; Bridget Hackshaw.
The Treehouse, Waiheke Island by Charissa Snijders Architects. Image: Peter Rees Photography; Bridget Hackshaw.

2) The Treehouse, Waiheke Island, Auckland

Reminiscent of a tramper’s hut, this timeless haven is connected closely to the elements. Designed as a place to retreat to where one can listen to the rain, to the wind in the trees, to bird song and the stillness of the night. It is a place to remind oneself of the richness that can be experienced in the simplest things in life. The Treehouse imbues the magical qualities of native forest and seeks the praise of shadows as well as the light. Its ever-changing kaleidoscope of patterns, texture and view shafts – both day and night, uplifts the senses and awakens one’s spirit for life.

Island Bach, Great Barrier Island, by Herbst Architects.
Island Bach, Great Barrier Island, by Herbst Architects.

3) Island Bach, Great Barrier Island, Auckland

The tower and pavilion of this simple yet striking form are sheathed in weathered timber, which offers both protection from the elements and a masterful engagement with the surroundings. Cleverly encapsulating both the notion of the Kiwi bach and a refined contemporary aesthetic, this is a building that offers a stunning retreat, perfectly suited to its island location.  

Interior, Island Bach, Great Barrier Island, by Herbst Architects.
Interior, Island Bach, Great Barrier Island, by Herbst Architects.

4) Wetland Folly, Great Barrier Island, Auckland

This simple pavilion designed almost a decade ago remains both a classic and relevant exploration of traditional New Zealand bach culture. Designed as an extension of space for a basic 1970s bach, this folly is uncomplicated by bedrooms or kitchens – it is simply extra space. A shelter designed as a celebration of the holiday atmosphere, its simple structural frame is clad with awnings, screens and a translucent sheet. 

Wetland Folly, Great Barrier Island, by Herbst Architects.
Wetland Folly, Great Barrier Island, by Herbst Architects.

Are you planning to build a bach? Discover more stunning contemporary beach houses and holiday home designs, connect with the architects and designers behind the country’s top holiday homes and plan your dream retreat. 

Get in touch with
ArchiPro

Request pricing/info
Visit website
Recommended reading
Done tagging

Island life: four of the best modern Kiwi beach houses

Beach houses have come a long way from the classic Kiwi crib but many contemporary baches offer a resounding nod to the coastal vernacular of days gone by. 

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team
0FC8CFBD-C43F-4180-85D1-CF38FD5869A7Created with sketchtool.
E160A899-8C92-47FF-BB31-6DB22BCEB5D9Created with sketchtool.

Beach houses have come a long way from the classic Kiwi crib but many contemporary baches offer a resounding nod to the coastal vernacular of days gone by. While not technically classed as ‘tiny homes’, these island beach houses have small footprints with big design aims that are inspired by a simple way of life. Here are four stunning small homes by the sea.

Located on Waiheke and Great Barrier islands, these four holiday homes offer a simple way of life and direct connections to their beautiful native bush surrounds and dramatic coastal sites. Designed over the last 10 years, these contemporary Kiwi beach houses are tributes to island life, displaying coastal charm and lofty design aims that far outweigh their small footprints, ensuring they remain as relevant today as the day they were completed.  

Tent House by Chris Tate, Waiheke Island, Auckland.
Tent House by Chris Tate, Waiheke Island, Auckland.

1) Tent House, Waiheke Island, Auckland

This masterpiece in monochrome by Chris Tate is comprised of sharp lines and a triangular form. Reminiscent of a tent, the architectural form of this small holiday home is both playful and joyous. Inside, it makes clever use of the small space and sloping walls with carefully chosen statement pieces, including a spiral staircase. The minimalist aesthetic flows across the form itself and the interior decor; there is no art on the walls, no door handles, locks or architraves – the focus is on the shadows, lines and shapes created by the form itself. 

The Treehouse, Waiheke Island by Charissa Snijders Architects. Image: Peter Rees Photography; Bridget Hackshaw.
The Treehouse, Waiheke Island by Charissa Snijders Architects. Image: Peter Rees Photography; Bridget Hackshaw.

2) The Treehouse, Waiheke Island, Auckland

Reminiscent of a tramper’s hut, this timeless haven is connected closely to the elements. Designed as a place to retreat to where one can listen to the rain, to the wind in the trees, to bird song and the stillness of the night. It is a place to remind oneself of the richness that can be experienced in the simplest things in life. The Treehouse imbues the magical qualities of native forest and seeks the praise of shadows as well as the light. Its ever-changing kaleidoscope of patterns, texture and view shafts – both day and night, uplifts the senses and awakens one’s spirit for life.

Island Bach, Great Barrier Island, by Herbst Architects.
Island Bach, Great Barrier Island, by Herbst Architects.

3) Island Bach, Great Barrier Island, Auckland

The tower and pavilion of this simple yet striking form are sheathed in weathered timber, which offers both protection from the elements and a masterful engagement with the surroundings. Cleverly encapsulating both the notion of the Kiwi bach and a refined contemporary aesthetic, this is a building that offers a stunning retreat, perfectly suited to its island location.  

Interior, Island Bach, Great Barrier Island, by Herbst Architects.
Interior, Island Bach, Great Barrier Island, by Herbst Architects.

4) Wetland Folly, Great Barrier Island, Auckland

This simple pavilion designed almost a decade ago remains both a classic and relevant exploration of traditional New Zealand bach culture. Designed as an extension of space for a basic 1970s bach, this folly is uncomplicated by bedrooms or kitchens – it is simply extra space. A shelter designed as a celebration of the holiday atmosphere, its simple structural frame is clad with awnings, screens and a translucent sheet. 

Wetland Folly, Great Barrier Island, by Herbst Architects.
Wetland Folly, Great Barrier Island, by Herbst Architects.

Are you planning to build a bach? Discover more stunning contemporary beach houses and holiday home designs, connect with the architects and designers behind the country’s top holiday homes and plan your dream retreat. 

Get in touch with
ArchiPro

Request pricing/info
Visit website
Recommended reading
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