De­sign note­book

Q&A with ar­chi­tect Dan Smith

HOME Magazine NZ - - River Run -

Tell us about find­ing this piece of land.

I’m reg­u­larly hunt­ing for the next de­sign op­por­tu­nity; ar­chi­tects are al­ways seek­ing the po­ten­tial of over­looked spa­ces. I stum­bled across this listing with a stun­ning view over the Waikato River and con­vinced Sam to stop in on our way to visit fam­ily in Hamil­ton. De­spite the shabby, run-down house on the front, the long north-fac­ing site ex­panded all the way down to the river’s edge and caught our at­ten­tion im­me­di­ately.

You fin­ished a lot of it your­self, what did you learn?

I can em­pathise more with a client’s point of view and also see things from the con­trac­tor’s per­spec­tive. Or­gan­is­ing a dozen trades at once in a small space, a week out from Christ­mas is not easy. Apart from lov­ing be­ing in­volved wher­ever I could, I spent a good part of a year fin­ish­ing the cedar rain screen, which was a great sense of ac­com­plish­ment. Also, if ar­chi­tec­ture doesn’t work out for me, I think I’ll take up land­scap­ing.

Since mov­ing in, you’ve had your first baby – how’s the space work­ing for a young fam­ily?

Acous­tics, warmth and tac­tile ma­te­ri­als were all con­sid­ered when imag­in­ing our fam­ily home. The space has a sense of re­lax­ation and tran­quil­ity, and the dual bed­room setup has cre­ated a nice con­nec­tion – sep­a­rate but close enough.

It feels gen­er­ous, but it’s not a big house. Any plans to ex­pand?

The orig­i­nal con­cept was for a 30-squareme­tre stu­dio on the river’s edge, how­ever the need for a fam­ily home quickly ex­panded the brief. Liv­ing in a small home re­quires a sense of dis­ci­pline in the way you live. Es­tab­lish­ing com­fort­able min­i­mums and pri­or­i­ties is in­te­gral to the de­sign out­come. The de­sign has been fu­ture proofed to add on another bed­room, en­suite and garage when the need oc­curs.

First floor 1. En­try 2. Liv­ing 3. Deck 4. Kitchen 5. Laun­dry 6. Bath­room 7. Bed­room 8. Mez­za­nine

Ground floor

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