Manly House: A mid-century-style bach with seamless indoor-outdoor flow

By PeterFell

Manly House: A mid-century-style bach with seamless indoor-outdoor flow banner

This fourth generation family holiday home invokes a quintessential mid-century Kiwi bach feel, using harmonious materiality inside and out, writes Joanna Seton.

On the wall of this Manly Beach, Whangaparaoa Peninsular family bach is a photograph of Flying Cloud—a proud nod to the family’s forefather and the boat which he built in 1952 to win the Sanders Cup. It’s a fitting portrait, as the bach was designed and built to be the family’s personal yacht club, and to host the wider neighbourhood and extended family functions.

The family have been holidaying and sailing the waters of Manly Beach for four generations, and having purchased the site and classic two-bedroom bach 15 years earlier, the time came for the client to build a new beach house to accommodate their growing brood.

Strachan Group Architects were engaged to carry out the design, which is an elaboration on the theme of the New Zealand bach—a single pitch form with a nod to the mid-century.

“It’s a long, skinny site facing north and the form of the building is a simple mono pitch that raises up to the north. We picked up on an angle within the site which is expressed through the entry stairs and it widens at the outdoor room,” says project architect Maria Hosking.

The effect of this angle is that the home opens out to encapsulate the raised pool area, and the kitchen and dining area has a roof plane that sits in juxtaposition, allowing east and west sun to flood the living spaces through high-level glazing.

Outdoor living on either side gives the home a central “breezeway” and contributes to the casual and social aspects of the bach.

The materiality is consistently low-contrast, with a palette of raw and tactile materials including timber, concrete and metal. The building is skinned in wide rib metal cladding for low maintenance, and to the north it’s sculpted out to create shaded apertures in contrasting washed cedar, which is washed in a silvery grey, giving the holiday home a distinctive beachy feel.

The cedar continues into the interior, blurring the boundary between inside and out. The concrete floors have the same effect, as the raised outdoor concrete floored living space sits flush with the interior concrete floor and when the tall sliders are peeled back there’s uninterrupted flow.

“Being able to do the same finishes and colours inside and out allowed us to blur that boundary, and when those doors are peeled away it’s a seamless transition,” says Maria.

The concrete is coloured in PeterFell’s warm 155 tint in both indoor and outdoor spaces.

“We wanted the concrete to have a softer, warmer tone to it and to reflect the warm East Coast golden sand. We also used a bit of Northland oceanic stone in the landscaping so we matched those colours into the concrete tint, too. PeterFell’s wide colour range allowed us to easily do that,” says Maria.

The same PeterFell tint is used in the exterior plaster work in order to create harmony between the tones of the different materials.

“I think that the continuity of materiality from inside to out is really strong because it’s a house that’s opened up frequently and enjoyed a lot in the summer. In terms of the feeling of warmth in the house, the PeterFell system brings that whole material palette together with the option of getting the perfect colour.”

Maria says the aesthetic qualities of concrete floors are now more design-friendly than in the past, thanks to improved surface finishing products, such as PeterFell’s C2 finishing system, which hardens and finishes the surface.

“When we first started doing concrete floors we were using polyurethane to finish them and eventually they would chip, scratch and discolour in the sun, and they would have to be redone. But the C2 densifier changes the properties of the concrete—it’s just a really hard-wearing finish which is exactly what you want in a place like this.”

Like the rest of the home, a matte finish was chosen for both indoor and outdoor surfaces, which contributes to the success of the raw, casual feel.

The bach is now being used as intended, and is a warm and welcoming backdrop to the family gatherings and yacht club get-togethers, with Flying Cloud no doubt observing happily from its spot on the wall.

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