De­sign note­book

HOME Magazine NZ - - Design Notebook - Q&A with Tobin Smith of CoLab

What is it that you en­joy most about the home?

I think Will Rogers sum­marised it per­fectly al­most a cen­tury ago when he said, “too many peo­ple spend money they haven’t earned to buy things they don’t want to im­press peo­ple they don’t like”. This house, as mod­est as it is, is for us. It fits our cur­rent life­style per­fectly. It’s warm, com­fort­able and it’s all we need.

Now that you’ve lived in the house for a while, how does the plan work for you as a fam­ily?

Good stor­age is so valu­able. We put a lot of thought into the stor­age and join­ery de­sign in each room, which has re­ally taken the pres­sure off the us­able floor space. Also, the sep­a­ra­tion the en­try cre­ates be­tween the liv­ing and bed­room spa­ces has proven to be a good de­ci­sion with the ad­di­tion of baby Oliver, who can be com­fort­ably tucked up in bed with­out the need for Hay­ley and I to tip­toe around the house in socks.

What are the de­sign out­comes that you see as suc­cesses?

Hay­ley and I have lived in a num­ber of small houses over the years, but not many good ones. So many small houses are poorly ori­en­tated or con­nected to one an­other in a way that lim­its ac­cess to sun­light. This takes its toll on your phys­i­cal and men­tal state over time. Our small house has such good qual­ity of space and light – even through the win­ter months – which has gen­uinely cre­ated an in­cred­i­bly com­fort­able and healthy liv­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

How does the de­sign man­age pri­vacy from neigh­bour­ing prop­er­ties?

The house is rel­a­tively solid to the south, east and west el­e­va­tions, with only a few con­sid­ered win­dows to draw in nat­u­ral sun­light. This so­lid­ity not only helps mit­i­gate any po­ten­tial pri­vacy is­sues be­tween prop­er­ties, but also sig­nif­i­cantly re­duces street noise from nearby Bealey Av­enue (which is one of Christchurch City’s main ar­te­rial roads that the boy rac­ers love to fre­quent). The north­ern el­e­va­tion is screened with the in­clu­sion of some maple trees and a griselinia hedge along the bound­ary, strate­gi­cally placed out­side the ex­ter­nal doors and win­dows to dif­fuse the out­look to the neigh­bour­ing prop­erty.

7. Bath­room 8. Bed­room 9. Gar­den shed 10. Ser­vice court 11. Court­yard 1. Car­port 2. En­try 3. Laun­dry 4. Kitchen 5. Din­ing 6. Liv­ing

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