Matakana House: modern life in the country

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Contemporary rural houses are becoming a lot more desirable in New Zealand as city house prices and populations increase and new homeowners seek solace from their busy urban lives in the country. Younger couples want their children to spend more time outdoors and are looking for an architecture that reflects our modern way of living and celebrates the stunning landscapes found throughout the country.

One Auckland family chose to build their dream holiday home an hour north of the city, near Matakana township, to enjoy the local wineries, restaurants, bush walks, and white sand beaches like Tāwharanui and Omaha. They imagined a rural-industrial aesthetic with the warmth and homeliness of a country house – modern, unfussy and highly functional. “They basically wanted a place to feast and drink with their close-knit group of friends and family,” says Dominic Glamuzina (Dom) of Auckland practice Glamuzina Architects.

In 2012, with two babies in tow, the family discovered a flat 17,300m² plot of land in Matakana, bordered by poplar trees and with 360-degree views of the surrounding landscape. “The land is basically a series of different scales – with wetlands east and west, hills rising up to the east and Sugar Loaf mountain being the prominent feature,” explains Dom.

Over the next four years, the family spent time on the land to understand it: they camped there, watched the sun come up and noticed where it sat throughout the day and at different times of the year, before making any building decisions. They planted trees around the site, including low-maintenance native plants and a fruit orchard filled with Kiwi favourites, like lemons, oranges, plums, nectarines and apples. Over time, the owners' plan is to landscape the huge lawn out back, which has amazing views of the house and the hills beyond.

A distinctive roof angle is particularly evident when seen from the distance and is a common architectural feature of Dom’s designs. Here, the roof folds in the middle, creating an angle on the ceiling in the kitchen, dining and living area, where its apex points up towards a view of the Sugar Loaf – seen along a line of spotlights that cross the ceiling.

This sculptural ceiling culminates again at two points, in the main entrance and the hallway, where it meets two triangular skylights that fill these interior spaces with light. Externally, the skylights pop out of the top of the roof like ‘bat’s ears’ – an affectionate term given to them by the builders who constructed the house.

The main feature of the open-plan living area is a floor-to-ceiling room divider that breaks up this voluminous area without destroying the stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

“I liked the idea of creating a 1970s-style timber room divider but making it modern and elegant, with slim profiles to give some transparency between the dining and lounge areas,” explains Dom. “It’s so big that it was a challenge to design and construct – to get it just right – but it’s a great feature of the house now.” This timber and steel unit matches the pale oak cabinetry in the kitchen and complements the wide-plank, dark-oak flooring seen throughout the house.

Sitting in pride of place on one of the shelves, among various plants and objects, is a Lego model of the house that is currently being built by the owner; a gift from an engineer friend who designed the model using the Lego Digital Designer programme and went out of his way to locate the numerous plastic bricks from 13 different countries.

Opposite the room divider is a dramatic oak veneer-clad entranceway that leads down into a ‘sunken’ snug, which, again, harks back to the 1970s but, here, the decor is minimal and modern. This snug space was designed as an adult’s refuge but the couple often find it overtaken with young ones, with the cushions dismantled and reconstructed into various ‘den’ configurations. In the far corner of the house, a distinctive barn-style timber window opens up into the landscape.

Around the interior of the house, white walls act like gallery space to showcase the owners’ extensive collection of artworks. In the large kitchen, a wide feature window appears like a lush green art canvas filled with foliage. Designed for avid home chefs, this entertainers’ kitchen features plenty of bench space and an adjacent scullery to hide away any mess.

Large blackened-steel folding doors surround the living area on two sides, creating a stunning graphic element that relates to the grid-like board-and-batten cladding on the exterior. These double-glazed doors open out to a courtyard with an orange tree as its centerpiece, that will grow up over time into a large canopy for people to sit underneath. Here, a swimming pool, an outdoor lounge and a dining area, complete with barbeque and Italian-style pizza oven, complete this entertainers’ paradise.

More steel doors link the courtyard to private areas of the house: two of the four bedrooms and the kids’ playroom ­– a fun space for the children and their friends to play and to stay overnight in the bunkbeds.

The homeowner describes the design and building of Matakana House as a “brilliant process”. “If you ever get the opportunity to build your own house, you should definitely take it. There are struggles and stresses, and the money outflow is scary sometimes, but it’s so exciting and I’m so in love with what we’ve ended up with.”

Matakana House: modern life in the country was completed by Glamuzina Architects in association with PAC Studio

Words: Justine Harvey

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The distinctive roof angles start as soon as you arrive and park beside the garage with its asymmetrical roof, while the roof of Matakana House points towards Sugar Loaf Mountain.
The board-and-batten, cedar-clad house sympathetically blends into its rural surroundings and a landscape planted in native plants and grasses, poplar trees and a fruit orchard.
The north-facing elevation features: a large, barn-style window leading into the snug (left); a lounge (middle); the playroom/bunkroom; a bedroom (right) and the courtyard (far right).
Viewed from the orchard, dappled sunlight floods the swimming pool area at the end of the day. The affectionately named 'bat's ears' or skylights pop out of the top of the roof. 
The northwestern-facing courtyard features an outdoor dining area complete with BBQ and Italian-style pizza oven.
The outdoor lounge overlooks the surrounding landscape, including a young orchard in the background of the photo, which was planted by the owners.
Enter the dining and kitchen area through full-height folding steel doors.
A huge floor-to-ceiling room divider in timber and steel is a key feature of the open-plan dining and lounge area.
High ceilings, a quirky roof line and industrial elements, like the steel folding doors, are balanced by the warmth of natural timbers – seen in the oak flooring and cabinetry.
A kinetic artwork is a highlight in the dining area, along with a Lego model of the house, which sits pride of place on the room divider; a gift from an engineer friend.
The kitchen is a chef's dream, with a stunning framed view of the trees, plenty of workspace and easy-to-clean surfaces.
The adjacent scullery is hidden from the main kitchen and living area but is only a few paces away. White tiling with black grout and satin-finished steel worktops contrast the black and timber cabinetry.
The comfy lounge area overlooks a vast grassy area and the Sugar Loaf mountain in the distance. High windows draw in light throughout the year.
The snug acts as a media room, a library and a space for the children to make dens out of the cushions from the bench-style seating that lines three walls of the space.
The sculptural oak entrance into a sunken snug.
 A cedar front door and dark oak flooring are top-lit by a triangular skylight.
From the cedar front door, the view culminates in lush greenery at the other end of the house.
Two triangular skylights, one in the entranceway and the other at the end of the hallways, create a light-filled gallery space, perfect for showing the owner's art collection.
Grey on grey, the neutral palette of the master bedroom is an effective counterpoint to all the timber throughout the house and the surrounding green landscape.
The playroom/bunkroom leads into the main hallway and the courtyard.
A concrete and oak vanity floats off the white tiled walls in the family bathroom.
This monochromatic shower in the family bathroom contrasts modern black tapware against the small circular tiles.

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Professionals used on this project

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Matakana House: modern life in the country

Contemporary rural houses are becoming a lot more desirable in New Zealand as city house prices and populations increase and new homeowners seek solace from their busy urban lives in the country. Younger couples want their children to spend more time outdoors and are looking for an architecture that reflects our modern way of living and celebrates the stunning landscapes found throughout the country.

One Auckland family chose to build their dream holiday home an hour north of the city, near Matakana township, to enjoy the local wineries, restaurants, bush walks, and white sand beaches like Tāwharanui and Omaha. They imagined a rural-industrial aesthetic with the warmth and homeliness of a country house – modern, unfussy and highly functional. “They basically wanted a place to feast and drink with their close-knit group of friends and family,” says Dominic Glamuzina (Dom) of Auckland practice Glamuzina Architects.

In 2012, with two babies in tow, the family discovered a flat 17,300m² plot of land in Matakana, bordered by poplar trees and with 360-degree views of the surrounding landscape. “The land is basically a series of different scales – with wetlands east and west, hills rising up to the east and Sugar Loaf mountain being the prominent feature,” explains Dom.

Over the next four years, the family spent time on the land to understand it: they camped there, watched the sun come up and noticed where it sat throughout the day and at different times of the year, before making any building decisions. They planted trees around the site, including low-maintenance native plants and a fruit orchard filled with Kiwi favourites, like lemons, oranges, plums, nectarines and apples. Over time, the owners' plan is to landscape the huge lawn out back, which has amazing views of the house and the hills beyond.

A distinctive roof angle is particularly evident when seen from the distance and is a common architectural feature of Dom’s designs. Here, the roof folds in the middle, creating an angle on the ceiling in the kitchen, dining and living area, where its apex points up towards a view of the Sugar Loaf – seen along a line of spotlights that cross the ceiling.

This sculptural ceiling culminates again at two points, in the main entrance and the hallway, where it meets two triangular skylights that fill these interior spaces with light. Externally, the skylights pop out of the top of the roof like ‘bat’s ears’ – an affectionate term given to them by the builders who constructed the house.

The main feature of the open-plan living area is a floor-to-ceiling room divider that breaks up this voluminous area without destroying the stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

“I liked the idea of creating a 1970s-style timber room divider but making it modern and elegant, with slim profiles to give some transparency between the dining and lounge areas,” explains Dom. “It’s so big that it was a challenge to design and construct – to get it just right – but it’s a great feature of the house now.” This timber and steel unit matches the pale oak cabinetry in the kitchen and complements the wide-plank, dark-oak flooring seen throughout the house.

Sitting in pride of place on one of the shelves, among various plants and objects, is a Lego model of the house that is currently being built by the owner; a gift from an engineer friend who designed the model using the Lego Digital Designer programme and went out of his way to locate the numerous plastic bricks from 13 different countries.

Opposite the room divider is a dramatic oak veneer-clad entranceway that leads down into a ‘sunken’ snug, which, again, harks back to the 1970s but, here, the decor is minimal and modern. This snug space was designed as an adult’s refuge but the couple often find it overtaken with young ones, with the cushions dismantled and reconstructed into various ‘den’ configurations. In the far corner of the house, a distinctive barn-style timber window opens up into the landscape.

Around the interior of the house, white walls act like gallery space to showcase the owners’ extensive collection of artworks. In the large kitchen, a wide feature window appears like a lush green art canvas filled with foliage. Designed for avid home chefs, this entertainers’ kitchen features plenty of bench space and an adjacent scullery to hide away any mess.

Large blackened-steel folding doors surround the living area on two sides, creating a stunning graphic element that relates to the grid-like board-and-batten cladding on the exterior. These double-glazed doors open out to a courtyard with an orange tree as its centerpiece, that will grow up over time into a large canopy for people to sit underneath. Here, a swimming pool, an outdoor lounge and a dining area, complete with barbeque and Italian-style pizza oven, complete this entertainers’ paradise.

More steel doors link the courtyard to private areas of the house: two of the four bedrooms and the kids’ playroom ­– a fun space for the children and their friends to play and to stay overnight in the bunkbeds.

The homeowner describes the design and building of Matakana House as a “brilliant process”. “If you ever get the opportunity to build your own house, you should definitely take it. There are struggles and stresses, and the money outflow is scary sometimes, but it’s so exciting and I’m so in love with what we’ve ended up with.”

Matakana House: modern life in the country was completed by Glamuzina Architects in association with PAC Studio

Words: Justine Harvey

Visit professional's website
Enquire about the process / fees
Contact details
April Project of the Month
The distinctive roof angles start as soon as you arrive and park beside the garage with its asymmetrical roof, while the roof of Matakana House points towards Sugar Loaf Mountain.
The board-and-batten, cedar-clad house sympathetically blends into its rural surroundings and a landscape planted in native plants and grasses, poplar trees and a fruit orchard.
The north-facing elevation features: a large, barn-style window leading into the snug (left); a lounge (middle); the playroom/bunkroom; a bedroom (right) and the courtyard (far right).
Viewed from the orchard, dappled sunlight floods the swimming pool area at the end of the day. The affectionately named 'bat's ears' or skylights pop out of the top of the roof. 
The northwestern-facing courtyard features an outdoor dining area complete with BBQ and Italian-style pizza oven.
The outdoor lounge overlooks the surrounding landscape, including a young orchard in the background of the photo, which was planted by the owners.
Enter the dining and kitchen area through full-height folding steel doors.
A huge floor-to-ceiling room divider in timber and steel is a key feature of the open-plan dining and lounge area.
High ceilings, a quirky roof line and industrial elements, like the steel folding doors, are balanced by the warmth of natural timbers – seen in the oak flooring and cabinetry.
A kinetic artwork is a highlight in the dining area, along with a Lego model of the house, which sits pride of place on the room divider; a gift from an engineer friend.
The kitchen is a chef's dream, with a stunning framed view of the trees, plenty of workspace and easy-to-clean surfaces.
The adjacent scullery is hidden from the main kitchen and living area but is only a few paces away. White tiling with black grout and satin-finished steel worktops contrast the black and timber cabinetry.
The comfy lounge area overlooks a vast grassy area and the Sugar Loaf mountain in the distance. High windows draw in light throughout the year.
The snug acts as a media room, a library and a space for the children to make dens out of the cushions from the bench-style seating that lines three walls of the space.
The sculptural oak entrance into a sunken snug.
 A cedar front door and dark oak flooring are top-lit by a triangular skylight.
From the cedar front door, the view culminates in lush greenery at the other end of the house.
Two triangular skylights, one in the entranceway and the other at the end of the hallways, create a light-filled gallery space, perfect for showing the owner's art collection.
Grey on grey, the neutral palette of the master bedroom is an effective counterpoint to all the timber throughout the house and the surrounding green landscape.
The playroom/bunkroom leads into the main hallway and the courtyard.
A concrete and oak vanity floats off the white tiled walls in the family bathroom.
This monochromatic shower in the family bathroom contrasts modern black tapware against the small circular tiles.

Products in this project

Professionals used on this project

Also from Glamuzina Architects

Done tagging
Full screen

Matakana House: modern life in the country

Contemporary rural houses are becoming a lot more desirable in New Zealand as city house prices and populations increase and new homeowners seek solace from their busy urban lives in the country. Younger couples want their children to spend more time outdoors and are looking for an architecture that reflects our modern way of living and celebrates the stunning landscapes found throughout the country.

One Auckland family chose to build their dream holiday home an hour north of the city, near Matakana township, to enjoy the local wineries, restaurants, bush walks, and white sand beaches like Tāwharanui and Omaha. They imagined a rural-industrial aesthetic with the warmth and homeliness of a country house – modern, unfussy and highly functional. “They basically wanted a place to feast and drink with their close-knit group of friends and family,” says Dominic Glamuzina (Dom) of Auckland practice Glamuzina Architects.

In 2012, with two babies in tow, the family discovered a flat 17,300m² plot of land in Matakana, bordered by poplar trees and with 360-degree views of the surrounding landscape. “The land is basically a series of different scales – with wetlands east and west, hills rising up to the east and Sugar Loaf mountain being the prominent feature,” explains Dom.

Over the next four years, the family spent time on the land to understand it: they camped there, watched the sun come up and noticed where it sat throughout the day and at different times of the year, before making any building decisions. They planted trees around the site, including low-maintenance native plants and a fruit orchard filled with Kiwi favourites, like lemons, oranges, plums, nectarines and apples. Over time, the owners' plan is to landscape the huge lawn out back, which has amazing views of the house and the hills beyond.

A distinctive roof angle is particularly evident when seen from the distance and is a common architectural feature of Dom’s designs. Here, the roof folds in the middle, creating an angle on the ceiling in the kitchen, dining and living area, where its apex points up towards a view of the Sugar Loaf – seen along a line of spotlights that cross the ceiling.

This sculptural ceiling culminates again at two points, in the main entrance and the hallway, where it meets two triangular skylights that fill these interior spaces with light. Externally, the skylights pop out of the top of the roof like ‘bat’s ears’ – an affectionate term given to them by the builders who constructed the house.

The main feature of the open-plan living area is a floor-to-ceiling room divider that breaks up this voluminous area without destroying the stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

“I liked the idea of creating a 1970s-style timber room divider but making it modern and elegant, with slim profiles to give some transparency between the dining and lounge areas,” explains Dom. “It’s so big that it was a challenge to design and construct – to get it just right – but it’s a great feature of the house now.” This timber and steel unit matches the pale oak cabinetry in the kitchen and complements the wide-plank, dark-oak flooring seen throughout the house.

Sitting in pride of place on one of the shelves, among various plants and objects, is a Lego model of the house that is currently being built by the owner; a gift from an engineer friend who designed the model using the Lego Digital Designer programme and went out of his way to locate the numerous plastic bricks from 13 different countries.

Opposite the room divider is a dramatic oak veneer-clad entranceway that leads down into a ‘sunken’ snug, which, again, harks back to the 1970s but, here, the decor is minimal and modern. This snug space was designed as an adult’s refuge but the couple often find it overtaken with young ones, with the cushions dismantled and reconstructed into various ‘den’ configurations. In the far corner of the house, a distinctive barn-style timber window opens up into the landscape.

Around the interior of the house, white walls act like gallery space to showcase the owners’ extensive collection of artworks. In the large kitchen, a wide feature window appears like a lush green art canvas filled with foliage. Designed for avid home chefs, this entertainers’ kitchen features plenty of bench space and an adjacent scullery to hide away any mess.

Large blackened-steel folding doors surround the living area on two sides, creating a stunning graphic element that relates to the grid-like board-and-batten cladding on the exterior. These double-glazed doors open out to a courtyard with an orange tree as its centerpiece, that will grow up over time into a large canopy for people to sit underneath. Here, a swimming pool, an outdoor lounge and a dining area, complete with barbeque and Italian-style pizza oven, complete this entertainers’ paradise.

More steel doors link the courtyard to private areas of the house: two of the four bedrooms and the kids’ playroom ­– a fun space for the children and their friends to play and to stay overnight in the bunkbeds.

The homeowner describes the design and building of Matakana House as a “brilliant process”. “If you ever get the opportunity to build your own house, you should definitely take it. There are struggles and stresses, and the money outflow is scary sometimes, but it’s so exciting and I’m so in love with what we’ve ended up with.”

Matakana House: modern life in the country was completed by Glamuzina Architects in association with PAC Studio

Words: Justine Harvey

Visit professional's website
Enquire about the process / fees
Contact details
April Project of the Month
The distinctive roof angles start as soon as you arrive and park beside the garage with its asymmetrical roof, while the roof of Matakana House points towards Sugar Loaf Mountain.
The board-and-batten, cedar-clad house sympathetically blends into its rural surroundings and a landscape planted in native plants and grasses, poplar trees and a fruit orchard.
The north-facing elevation features: a large, barn-style window leading into the snug (left); a lounge (middle); the playroom/bunkroom; a bedroom (right) and the courtyard (far right).
Viewed from the orchard, dappled sunlight floods the swimming pool area at the end of the day. The affectionately named 'bat's ears' or skylights pop out of the top of the roof. 
The northwestern-facing courtyard features an outdoor dining area complete with BBQ and Italian-style pizza oven.
The outdoor lounge overlooks the surrounding landscape, including a young orchard in the background of the photo, which was planted by the owners.
Enter the dining and kitchen area through full-height folding steel doors.
A huge floor-to-ceiling room divider in timber and steel is a key feature of the open-plan dining and lounge area.
High ceilings, a quirky roof line and industrial elements, like the steel folding doors, are balanced by the warmth of natural timbers – seen in the oak flooring and cabinetry.
A kinetic artwork is a highlight in the dining area, along with a Lego model of the house, which sits pride of place on the room divider; a gift from an engineer friend.
The kitchen is a chef's dream, with a stunning framed view of the trees, plenty of workspace and easy-to-clean surfaces.
The adjacent scullery is hidden from the main kitchen and living area but is only a few paces away. White tiling with black grout and satin-finished steel worktops contrast the black and timber cabinetry.
The comfy lounge area overlooks a vast grassy area and the Sugar Loaf mountain in the distance. High windows draw in light throughout the year.
The snug acts as a media room, a library and a space for the children to make dens out of the cushions from the bench-style seating that lines three walls of the space.
The sculptural oak entrance into a sunken snug.
 A cedar front door and dark oak flooring are top-lit by a triangular skylight.
From the cedar front door, the view culminates in lush greenery at the other end of the house.
Two triangular skylights, one in the entranceway and the other at the end of the hallways, create a light-filled gallery space, perfect for showing the owner's art collection.
Grey on grey, the neutral palette of the master bedroom is an effective counterpoint to all the timber throughout the house and the surrounding green landscape.
The playroom/bunkroom leads into the main hallway and the courtyard.
A concrete and oak vanity floats off the white tiled walls in the family bathroom.
This monochromatic shower in the family bathroom contrasts modern black tapware against the small circular tiles.
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