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Presented with a concept for a single-storey house, the owner of this property fetched a step ladder, asked his architectural designer to climb it and told him, "That’s where the first floor’s got to be."
A Ravensbourne resident for more than 40 years, the man was determined to capture sun and views. When sitting in the living area, he wanted to see over the roofs of neighbouring houses, out to the sparkling waters of Otago harbour.
Favouring a simple form, Cameron Grindlay, of Dwelling Architectural Design, drew what is essentially a cube, but with a two-part monopitch roof to allow northern sunlight in and window joinery recessed into the walls to provide depth and interest.
The central staircase defines the internal spaces and the second flight features open treads, metal mesh and a glass balustrade to ensure light and views are not compromised.
Recognised in the Otago-Southland Architectural Design Awards late last year, the interior combines robust materials with precision craftsmanship.
Exposed steel beams, painted to match the handrail, show the "bones" of the building and how it was constructed.
In keeping with the semi-industrial feel, the floors are polished concrete, the base of the coffee table is made from beer crates and the stainless steel kitchen island is a large tool trolley bought at a hardware store.
The owner wanted materials that would require little upkeep. Plywood is used throughout the interior and decks are made of a composite material. The exterior cladding consists of prefinished colorsteel and cement board panels.
The low maintenance, thermally efficient property is a big change from the 1914 villa that he has lived in since 1977.
The insulated concrete floors provide thermal mass and have in-slab heated water pipes powered by a heat pump. The home also has a warm roof construction, with insulation laid over the top of the roof deck, on top of a vapour control layer.
After a long, sometimes challenging, build, the owner is pleased to see the project completed.
The Dunedin businessman says he enjoys the views and the proximity of the harbour.
"Everybody poo-poos Ravensbourne, but I’ve loved it.