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Being asked for design advice late in the design process of this extensive renovation on Waiheke Island (first amendment to Building Consent), was a little challenging, but the team already comprising of lovely clients and builder meant that it was an easy decision to step in and work with them to make a difference.

We relooked and made internal changes to the plans, such as repositioning the new internal staircase and shifting bathrooms. Then we looked to the outside and again made careful design decisions to help update the look of the place and create better outdoor living areas.

After that, Louise – an interior designer, amongst her other creative skills – and I, slowly but surely lovingly touched every surface through conversation and pen until we brought their dream of creating a holiday home into being: one that celebrated family and imbued a feeling of a relaxed, joyful and flexible space, willing to take the knocks of daily life and a second generation of young children and pets freely roaming the place.

Tragedy struck the family 18 months into my time on the project with the passing of Louise – but her wish for us to continue to create this dream helped us deal with the shock and bring some meaning into what it was all about.

When one enters this home the dream clearly has come alive and this place is everything we ever talked about in those many and varied conversations over samples, lighting, kitchens and all the other ingredients that make up a home…

It is a joyful and peaceful place - and one that brings the family together to celebrate life.


Photography by Peter Rees Photography

Charissa Snijders Architect
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Tiri Whanau

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Weaving the story of people and place through award winning design, Charissa works with you to create architecture that is life-affirming, resilient and beautiful.

Working co-creatively with you, the design is innovative and personalised to meet your unique needs. The process is an enriching experience, one that inspires authentic living. 

Charissa Snijders Architect works on everything from the overall design idea to the smallest details. Interiors, exteriors, materials, colour, lighting, landscaping, and creative landmarks. To make sure every design is socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative, Charissa works with Regenerative Practitioner frameworks and The Living Building Challenge (LBC) - a high level green building certification programme.


Charissa Snijders is an award-winning Architect who has been working in the field since 1992. She combines vision, artistry, experience, and her skills as an empath to create places of beauty and resonance that restore harmony between people and place. Her integrative approach bridges indigenous wisdom with ground-breaking science.

Charissa’s approach is co-creative; with her client as an integral partner on the team at every stage of the design and building process. Charissa oversees the delivery and documentation of the concept design with the support and expertise of her team. She coordinates and delivers an inspired outcome that is not preconceived, rather a combination of the client’s unique requirements, the story of the land and the budget. The aim is to achieve an outcome beyond the client’s expectations. For Charissa, a successful project inspires authentic living; bringing greater meaning to all those who experience it.