NZ House & Garden - - HOMES -

vanessa and richard owen built the first of two tiny beach huts on their coastal Kerik­eri property 10 years ago. The first 10sqm hut, lo­cated in the next bay from the Owens’ home, was built us­ing bits and pieces left over from the ren­o­va­tion of their villa – short lengths of tim­ber and roof­ing iron that would oth­er­wise have gone in the skip. An­other hut was added a few years later, with the help of friends and fam­ily. (“We built it in a day,” says Vanessa. “We started at 8am and it was fin­ished by 10pm.”)

The huts weren’t built with the in­ten­tion of host­ing pay­ing guests, says Vanessa. “We thought, ‘Who would pay to stay here? There’s a long drop and no hot wa­ter!’” But their friends felt oth­er­wise. “You’re hog­ging them,” they said. So, a couple of years ago, the Owens be­gan rent­ing out the huts dur­ing the sum­mer months. “They’ve been so pop­u­lar,” says Vanessa. “They’re great for peo­ple who like camp­ing, but don’t want the has­sle of all the ex­tra gear. They smooth the edges of rough­ing it.”

They really are rus­tic. There’s a long drop and no hot wa­ter. The shower is a so­lar-heated bag that’s hung up out­side and the lights are so­lar-pow­ered. There’s a gas fridge and hob to boil wa­ter for the ket­tle – and the dishes! >

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