Karaka Life - Hurley Architects | ArchiPro

Karaka Life

Located in a tree-lined enclave, this rural property has been designed as a retreat, providing a getaway, everyday, from city working life for its owners and their young family.

“The clients had put a lot of thought into what they wanted and what they didn’t, providing us with a visual brief that included pictures of the site, an in-depth analysis of the sun path and images of other homes from which they had drawn inspiration,” says architect Jann Hurley, Director of Hurley Architects.

“Both work in fairly intensive environments and so wanted the house to be a reprieve from the rigours of working life. ‘Simplicity with a wow factor’, was a key part of the brief, drawing on a palette of traditional rural materials, blended with a modern take on vernacular forms.

“While the clients were drawn to a very modular plan, they didn’t want the conventional pavilion style, so we experimented with different roof profiles, settling on a kind of deconstructed and juxtaposed shed form that allowed the house to spread out across the site while having the sense of being embedded into the landscape.”

Connection to and with the landscape was paramount as the clients wanted a series of outdoor spaces that could be enjoyed throughout the day and seasons. To this end, we have provided three separate areas with varying characteristics. The east-facing courtyard, accessed directly off the kitchen, has been a pleasant surprise for the clients and has become the preferred spot to unwind outdoors,” says Jann.

“The sun-soaked northern decks enjoy a private and sheltered aspect, cloistered by mature trees along the northern boundary, while the western, covered deck captures the lower evening sun on still summer evenings, giving the clients myriad choices for enjoying the bucolic surroundings throughout the course of the day.”

Internally, the home needed to be comfortable and functional, offering open-plan living with spaces that interact while being defined by the structure.

“From the outset, plans for future family life—which came to fruition during construction—called for a modular approach, separating public and private spaces, with quiet sleeping spaces away from entertaining areas.

“The house has been divided into three distinct modules—living, bedrooms, services—and it was important to the clients that the living area be open-plan but without feeling like a hall, so while it’s open to the lounge, the kitchen has been tucked away in its own alcove-like space, albeit a very generous alcove.

“As one moves through the free-flowing layout, different views across the site are framed by a variety of window shapes and placements, some of which invite direct access to the various outdoor living spaces.”

In keeping with the clients’ preference for a design that was characteristic of a ‘New Zealand’ vernacular, timber features predominantly on the exterior in the form of cedar weatherboards, which have been accented with long-run steel on the south-facing facade.

Provision was also made to ensure the overall amenity of the home, says Jann.

“The design deliberately minimises the reliance on mechanical heating through higher levels of insulation in the walls and ceiling, as well as its orientation to the sun and inclusion of generous overhangs, which work in concert to take advantage of solar gain during winter while providing shade during summer.

“Further plans include a detached guest house and swimming pool—the perfect addition to this rural refuge.”

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