Modern mountain makeover

An original home in one of Queenstown’s most exclusive subdivisions was the starting point for this contemporary residence. Photos: Graham Warman Photography
An original home in one of Queenstown’s most exclusive subdivisions was the starting point for this contemporary residence. Photos: Graham Warman Photography
The living area features a tongue and groove ceiling and opens on to a schist 
courtyard.
The living area features a tongue and groove ceiling and opens on to a schist courtyard.
The rebuild turned the 1960s chalet into a modern, energy-efficient family home.
The rebuild turned the 1960s chalet into a modern, energy-efficient family home.
The roof of the home photographed at night.
The roof of the home photographed at night.
The living area has the same high pitch roof that was a feature of the original house.
The living area has the same high pitch roof that was a feature of the original house.
The alterations increased the home from 100sq m to 300sq m.
The alterations increased the home from 100sq m to 300sq m.
The master bedroom is upstairs, with others below.
The master bedroom is upstairs, with others below.
The roof peaks echo the surrounding mountains.
The roof peaks echo the surrounding mountains.
The middle section of the house is built on the original footprint of the 1960s chalet. New wings were added to the front and the rear.
The middle section of the house is built on the original footprint of the 1960s chalet. New wings were added to the front and the rear.
The northwest facing private schist courtyard.
The northwest facing private schist courtyard.

A small chalet-style house gets a modern makeover. Kim Dungey reports.

From chalet to showstopper, this 1960s classic has been radically remodelled.

The house was built as a show-home for Queenstown's Kelvin Heights subdivision in the early 1960s.

Almost 60 years later, new owners wanted to convert it into a permanent residence that would make the most of the views of the Remarkables mountain range and Lake Wakatipu.

The bold rebuild was recognised at last week's Otago/Southland round of the Resene architectural designers' awards when Sam Connell, of Connell Architecture in Christchurch, won the award for residential alterations and additions. The judges said the strong alpine forms followed the lead of the original house and praised the thermal properties, and the large windows and interior volumes, all of which meant the occupants could take advantage of the stunning views in comfort.

John Reid, who developed Kelvin Heights in the '60s, told Mountain Scene in 2012 it was his idea to employ mountain-style architecture ''with a bit of a pitch to the roof''.

''We were trying to get it through that this was an alpine area rather than a place to just throw up your average bach.''

Mr Reid said the Kelvin Heights peninsula was a ''magic location'', but he had no idea that it would go on to become New Zealand's first million-dollar subdivision. The show-home was designed to be affordable and originally sold for about 5000 pounds.

Named ''Tyrol'' after a region in the Austrian Alps, the house was originally only 100sq m. Mr Connell says the cladding, roof and windows were all unchanged and there was no insulation.

The present owners bought the property as a holiday home while living in Wellington, and always planned extensions. However, moving to Queenstown with their two sons in 2016 meant it became a permanent residence and their requirements changed slightly.

The chalet's cladding and roof were removed but its footprint remained, and the new roof was designed with the same height and pitch as the original.

The entire footprint of the 1960s home is now an open-plan kitchen, dining and living area.

A new wing to the rear comprises bedrooms, bathrooms and a media room. Another at the front has a garage with a loft space above. The garage links to the house via a ''service galley'' that includes an office, a laundry and storage for skis.

The 300sq m of floor space provides both open-plan and private areas, Mr Connell says.

The high-pitched tongue and groove oak ceiling and expansive glass create a light, open living environment that encompasses the mountain views and respects the original architecture.

The living space opens on to a northwest facing private schist courtyard with an outdoor fireplace. Weatherboards used on the exterior blend with the alpine setting.

Creating a thermally-efficient home was also important in the Central Otago climate.

Having previously lived in Japan and Poland, where houses were built to handle extreme weather conditions, the owners wanted a home that would be comfortable to live in year-round. Though the property is not certified as a passive house, they say that applying passive house principles was a ''logical approach'', and the design team, builder and materials were all chosen with that in mind.

Both new wings face north to maximise solar gain. Siberian larch windows and doors were made to European standards for thermal efficiency, with deep external reveals to articulate the openings. The building envelope is airtight, with internal and external building wraps and multiple layers of insulation within 270mm-thick walls.

There is also a fresh air and heat recovery system to ensure good indoor air quality.

Heating is provided via hydronic in-floor, water-filled pipes, while the thermally broken slab edge ensures heat loss is minimised.

''Every corner of the house is easily kept at a constant 24 degrees, even when it's minus three outside,'' they say.

''Keeping the original chalet charm and upgrading well beyond the building code standard, with high-quality design, construction and materials inside and out, it's destined to last for another 60 years at least. [It's] a show home of the past and now, with its passive house credentials, perhaps it's a show home for the future.''

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