Opening up to the elements gives crib its heart

The owners of this Karitane crib wanted to be able to make the most of the sun and views at all...
The owners of this Karitane crib wanted to be able to make the most of the sun and views at all times, and to look out to the sea from the backyard. PHOTO: ANDY SPAIN
This Karitane crib is the perfect place for extended family to gather. Kim Dungey reports.

The view takes in the Waikouaiti River mouth and Karitane Bay. PHOTO: ANDY SPAIN
The view takes in the Waikouaiti River mouth and Karitane Bay. PHOTO: ANDY SPAIN
Time on holiday is rarely spent inside with the doors closed and even less so at this Karitane crib, enjoyed by three generations of one family.

Couches and window seats double as beds when there are visitors. PHOTO: ANDY SPAIN
Couches and window seats double as beds when there are visitors. PHOTO: ANDY SPAIN
The inspiration for the design was living "in" the scenery, or having a part of the house that could literally open up to the surrounding views and the elements.

The stainless steel island can roll outdoors to provide a serving space or work space next to the...
The stainless steel island can roll outdoors to provide a serving space or work space next to the barbecue. PHOTO: ANDY SPAIN
Designed by Wellington’s First Light Studio, it comprises two offset boxes, with an airy pavilion in between that flows seamlessly from indoors to outdoors.

Vintage-style fittings and built-in storage feature inside. PHOTO: ANDY SPAIN
Vintage-style fittings and built-in storage feature inside. PHOTO: ANDY SPAIN
Full-height bi-folds open to the northeast, southwest or both, connecting the sea and hills in any weather. The stainless steel kitchen island can simply be rolled out to provide a work space next to the barbecue.

PHOTO: ANDY SPAIN
PHOTO: ANDY SPAIN
Lead architect Anna Farrow says the extended family had holidayed on the site for many years and their brief chronicled a typical day in their new crib: a morning coffee, a swim, reading in the sun and perhaps a dinner of freshly caught fish at sunset.

PHOTO: ANDY SPAIN
PHOTO: ANDY SPAIN
The corner site at the top of a hill meant the view to the coast would never be built out. However, a neighbouring two-storey house sat in the way of the sun to the north so the challenge was to orientate the crib in a way that would optimise the available sunlight and also provide some privacy.

The home has a strong connection to the outdoors. PHOTO: ANDY SPAIN
The home has a strong connection to the outdoors. PHOTO: ANDY SPAIN
Small and unpretentious, the crib has a simple form and an open floor plan.

It was important to the owners to be able to enjoy the views without the wind that went with them...
It was important to the owners to be able to enjoy the views without the wind that went with them. PHOTO: ANDY SPAIN
The 110sq m footprint includes two double bedrooms and a bunkroom, with built-in window seats in all the rooms (including the living room) that can double as beds. Family members often stay over and the house can sleep 14 if it needs to.

Walls and ceilings consist of clear-coated plywood. PHOTO: ANDY SPAIN
Walls and ceilings consist of clear-coated plywood. PHOTO: ANDY SPAIN
The bathroom is laid out as if at a campground with the shower, toilet and vanity in separate spaces so multiple people can use it at once. Like the stainless steel kitchen island, nothing in the central space is fixed.

The crib has been shortlisted in the 2022 Southern Architecture Awards. PHOTO: ANDY SPAIN
The crib has been shortlisted in the 2022 Southern Architecture Awards. PHOTO: ANDY SPAIN
The two cedar-clad boxes resonate with the solidity of the family’s 1960s predecessor.

The bathroom is arranged with the shower, toilet and vanity in separate spaces so multiple people...
The bathroom is arranged with the shower, toilet and vanity in separate spaces so multiple people can use it at once. PHOTO: ANDY SPAIN
Reclaimed mid-century doors in blue and yellow make reference to the cheerful colourways of the original crib, which was powder blue with bright yellow doors and white trims; the original doors could not be reused as the crib was moved off-site in its entirety.

While plywood features throughout, playful colour accents — blue, green, yellow and orange — define individual spaces.

The three bedrooms include this bunkroom. PHOTO: ANDY SPAIN
The three bedrooms include this bunkroom. PHOTO: ANDY SPAIN
To the northeast are the silver waters of the Waikouaiti River and Karitane Bay; to the southwest, a rolling green horizon created by the distant ranges.

The outdoors contributes to the liveable space, making the small footprint feel bigger, and almost every room makes the most of the views.

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