When

NZ House & Garden - - HOMES -

you sink into the sofa in Rus­sell and Jen We­b­ley’s living room, you’re be­low wa­ter level. That’s not nor­mally de­sir­able in post-quake Christchurch, but a sunken lounge was one of the pre­req­ui­sites in a house its own­ers de­clare to be per­fect.

In the orig­i­nal 2010 plan, the pond that laps the win­dow sills was a swim­ming pool but, for quake-wary Jen, the thought of drown­ing in a minia­ture home-made tsunami put paid to that. Be­sides, the lo­gis­tics of cov­er­ing the pool were com­pli­cated and costly. “In the end we aban­doned the pool idea but kept the con­nec­tion be­tween the lounge and wa­ter,” says Rus­sell.

Rus­sell and Jen say they wouldn’t change one thing about their Fen­dal­ton house, which was de­signed by Dar­ren O’Neil of O’Neil Ar­chi­tec­ture. “He’s ex­tremely good at space plan­ning and we love the look of his build­ings.” But the de­tail – wherein God lives, says Rus­sell – is theirs. “We’ve been on the same page for ev­ery de­ci­sion,” says Jen. >

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