All about the views

An open-plan layout and "see-through" staircase ensure that Otago harbour can be seen from almost...
An open-plan layout and "see-through" staircase ensure that Otago harbour can be seen from almost every part of this Ravensbourne home. PHOTOS: SEAN WALLER PHOTOGRAPHY
The owner of this Dunedin property wanted a warm, low-maintenance home that maximised the views. Kim Dungey reports.

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.

Steel, timber and concrete give a semi-industrial feel to the interior.
Steel, timber and concrete give a semi-industrial feel to the interior.
The end result is a tall, glass-fronted house that — as requested — delivers sweeping views up, down and across the 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.

Grey cladding and window frames help the building blend in with its surroundings, while red...
Grey cladding and window frames help the building blend in with its surroundings, while red accents provide contrast. Due to site and district plan constraints, the footprint is only 57sq m.
The layout is organised across three levels, with a bedroom, bathroom and garage on the ground floor and living spaces on the middle level. A bedroom and ensuite are on the mezzanine, which could easily be extended if the owner wants to add a third bedroom in the future.

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.

The mezzanine master suite enjoys panoramic views.
The mezzanine master suite enjoys panoramic views.
The stairs were made from a single piece of rimu felled in the Catlins more than 50 years ago; the steel handrail was sandblasted, then left outside to rust.

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.

Doors off the dining area fold back to reveal Otago harbour and peninsula. There is a choice of...
Doors off the dining area fold back to reveal Otago harbour and peninsula. There is a choice of decks to use, depending on which direction the wind is blowing. PHOTOS: SEAN WALLER PHOTOGRAPHY
An absence of hallways and an abundance of sliding doors mean that no space in the 130sq m home is wasted.

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 kitchen opens to a deck surrounded by native bush. Almost all furniture, including the...
The kitchen opens to a deck surrounded by native bush. Almost all furniture, including the kitchen island, is on castors and can be moved around for flexibility
The triple glazing was "the price of a normal house", but only 15% more than double glazing, the keen musician and sailor says. The 240mm-thick walls are "super-insulated". On warmer days, sunlight entering the home is controlled by motorised blinds and high-opening windows allow cooling, cross-ventilation.

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 ground floor contains a bedroom and bathroom.
The ground floor contains a bedroom and bathroom.
"The house is pleasant to be in. Music sounds fabulous in it. And it’s a nice place to get together with friends."

The Dunedin businessman says he enjoys the views and the proximity of the harbour.

"Everybody poo-poos Ravensbourne, but I’ve loved it.

Aluminium strips embedded in the stair treads ensure a safe footing.
Aluminium strips embedded in the stair treads ensure a safe footing.
"It’s a great community ... and the number of new houses going up here is amazing."

kim.dungey@odt.co.nz

 

Comments

Stunning house. And great to see a positive perspective on Ravensbourne. Those views!!.

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