Homes: a ru­ral new-build with X fac­tor

An ar­chi­tec­tural de­signer jumped at the chance to build his young fam­ily a fab­u­lous ru­ral home that is gen­tle on the en­vi­ron­ment and full of per­son­al­ity

Your Home and Garden - - Contents - Text by Sharon Stephen­son. Pho­tog­ra­phy by Kate Clar­idge.

It def­i­nitely wasn’t love at first sight for Kate Perry when she saw the ru­ral Ti­maru sec­tion her part­ner, ar­chi­tec­tural de­signer Josh Newlove, wanted to build a house on. “It was so steep we could barely get the car up the path,” re­calls Kate. “I told

Josh I didn’t even want to get out of the car.”

The cou­ple, who met while study­ing in Dunedin, had re­cently com­pleted a ma­jor ren­o­va­tion of their first home, a 1950s cot­tage in Ti­maru. But they were ex­pect­ing their sec­ond child and Josh, who was born on the West Coast, wanted to en­sure his kids had a coun­try child­hood.

Fast-for­ward a year and the same 10-acre sec­tion was still for sale. Re­al­is­ing it was half the price of land in town, Kate re­lented and Josh lost no time in chan­nelling the ar­chi­tec­tural skills he uses to cre­ate other peo­ple’s dream homes into de­sign­ing his own.

Their wish­list was clear: four bed­rooms, con­crete floors with un­der­floor heat­ing, low main­te­nance and as sus­tain­able as pos­si­ble. “It was vi­tal that the house, and the way we lived, re­lated to the en­vi­ron­ment,” says Josh. That meant us­ing ma­te­ri­als such as cedar cladding and ply­wood, and in­stalling so­lar pan­els and a spe­cial sys­tem to cap­ture rain­wa­ter (in­trigu­ingly, in­stead of hid­ing the 10-me­tre in­ter­nal gut­ter, Josh made a fea­ture of it, cov­er­ing it in stain­less steel and in­sert­ing LED strip light­ing.

Josh had some trou­ble con­vinc­ing the joiner to use bright yel­low. “She thought we were mad!”

Some­thing old

An­other strik­ing fea­ture is the wall of old green-painted sark­ing in the open-plan kitchen and liv­ing area. “I got 600 lin­eal me­tres of tim­ber from a build­ing that came down in the Can­ter­bury earth­quakes, so I de­cided to make a fea­ture wall of it,” says Josh.

Kate wasn’t con­vinced. “I thought it was the ugli­est thing I’d ever seen. I kept ask­ing Josh when he was go­ing to paint over the green. But now I love the way it fits into the land­scape.” The rough boards, scarred and marked by time, also line the ad­ja­cent hall­way and the three­me­tre-high door which al­lows the adult and chil­dren’s liv­ing spaces to be sep­a­rated.

Some­thing new

For the kitchen, Josh de­signed the 3.8-me­tre bench­top as two mod­u­lar units that can be con­fig­ured as de­sired. They’ve since proved a hit at kids’ par­ties, where they can be wheeled to one side to pro­vide more room.

Josh, how­ever, had some trou­ble con­vinc­ing the joiner to use bright yel­low. “She thought we were mad! But the colour re­ally pops so I’m glad we didn’t play it safe.”

Clever ideas

Next to the kitchen is the for­mal lounge or, as Josh calls it, the “Whisky Room”. It’s not quite fin­ished but once an open fire and deck­ing have been in­stalled, the cou­ple in­tend to use it as an in­door-out­door space, its bi­fold doors on both sides al­low­ing it to be opened up en­tirely to the out­side.

In the main bed­room, the wardrobe and makeup sta­tion is tucked be­hind a half-wall which also serves as the bed­head. In the in­ter­ests of a seam­less look, the cou­ple re­peated the same grey tiles in the main bath­room and mas­ter en­suite. Josh de­signed the en­suite basin around a solid piece of jar­rah re­claimed from a Christchurch de­mo­li­tion. Kate has kept the four bed­rooms neu­tral, although she’s been able to indulge her love of styling by re­pur­pos­ing the sec­ond­hand bed­side cab­i­nets.

Next step

Although this hard-work­ing cou­ple are de­lighted with their home, they en­joyed the build­ing process so much they’re keen to do it all again. “De­sign­ing houses is my job – I can’t help it,” says Josh. “I al­ready have hun­dreds of ideas for our next place.”

LIV­ING, DIN­ING, KITCHEN The 10-seater din­ing ta­ble came from Trade Me, as did the tin-pan­elled side­board be­hind it. One of Kate’s non-ne­go­tiables was a small scullery (tucked be­hind the kitchen), which al­lows her to keep clut­ter to a min­i­mum.

LIV­ING The Stendig cal­en­dar is a favourite in this house­hold and both Kate and Josh love the strong vis­ual im­pact it makes in their home’s en­trance. Thanks to the fire and un­der­floor heat­ing, the house is so warm that the lou­vre win­dows are of­ten open, even on the cold­est win­ter’s day!

Black Thatch large linen cush­ion, $189.99,

from Alex & Cor­ban. Mid-cen­tury Scis­sor

chair, POA, from Mr Big­gleswor­thy. Clarke side­board,

$4850, from French Coun­try Col­lec­tions. MAIN BED­ROOM The cou­ple chose cage shelves to keep the space as stream­lined and clut­ter-free as pos­si­ble. Dark linen matches the ad­ja­cent stone bath

(see over page) and cre­ates a sense of calm and con­ti­nu­ity.

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