Langs Beach

Emma Mor­ris de­signs a beach house for her par­ents David and Lien Mor­ris – their first ar­chi­tec­tural home and one they share with ex­tended fam­ily.

HOME Magazine NZ - - Contents - Text David Mor­ris Pho­tog­ra­phy Sam Hart­nett Styling Sara Black

Emma Mor­ris de­signs a beach home for fam­ily

“We bought the sec­tion 10 years ago and I said to Emma, “It’s go­ing to stay empty un­til you come back [from London] and we want you to de­sign the house for us.” That was the un­der­stand­ing, every­one was to­tally de­lighted, and we then had to wait. But we were in no hurry, we wanted her to come back and take over, so that was fine. Emma had gone from New York to London and was work­ing there. Our other daugh­ter Nina was also in London and then my son Paul even­tu­ally got there. At that stage, Emma’s in­for­ma­tion was by email and pho­to­graphs and she would con­sult with Nina and Paul. We worked out quite quickly what we wanted be­cause every­one had chipped in. Emma re­turned about five years ago and went up to the prop­erty, sniffed the wind, looked at the sun and got it all right. It was very straight­for­ward be­cause Emma is very straight­for­ward. We very much left it to her – we weren’t the type of client to dom­i­nate. We def­i­nitely didn’t want a stylised house, like a lot are these days. We wanted a cer­tain light­ness in the con­struc­tion. We wanted it very open to the air, to the light, to the sunshine, yet with shel­ter. We wanted a ve­ran­dah along the length of the house be­cause we’ve got the Hen and Chick­ens out in front, the Whangarei Heads to the left and Sail Rock on the right – it’s an ex­tra­or­di­nary view. We wanted height for the views and a long, main room where every­one could live in and chat, with a high ceil­ing so you felt you were in a nice big room. We wanted a wood­burner

to heat the place in winter. Along the east side of the house is that main room and the main bed­room – they open di­rectly onto the big front ve­ran­dah and that was key. That’s prob­a­bly all I said and then the rest flowed from there. Early on, we had a lit­tle mo­bile hut on site and used it for long week­ends. We started plant­ing fruit trees at that stage. Ba­si­cally, I love fish­ing and wanted lemons to go with the fish. Dur­ing that time we be­came very aware of the wind. There’s a bit of a gully be­hind Langs Beach and the southerly would swing around and come through the gully – it could get quite cold. From the other di­rec­tion, of course, is the sea breeze which is won­der­ful, but we soon re­alised that by four o’clock the east coast wind can be very strong. That be­came a con­sid­er­a­tion in the de­sign and we have a lit­tle ve­ran­dah where we can bar­be­cue or just sit and look to­wards the west, which is quite beau­ti­ful. Emma couldn’t have got it bet­ter. The house func­tions beau­ti­fully, it’s ex­actly what we wanted. It’s a de­light to walk into and has a fas­ci­nat­ing roof line; el­e­vated enough for it to be within height re­stric­tions but with in­ter­est­ing an­gles. We’ve gained more than we thought we would and it’s ex­cel­lent. The house sort of nes­tles into the land­scape and as very keen gar­den­ers we’ve been plant­ing quite a lot of na­tive trees and get­ting the lawns into or­der. It’s go­ing to nes­tle in re­ally well. It’s al­ways been Emma’s house – she vis­ited the site and took all that headache away. It’s beau­ti­fully built by Lin­de­say Con­struc­tion and they used to call it Emma’s lit­tle gem. They were de­lighted, I mean they scratched their heads over some of the in­ter­est­ing an­gles, but I re­mem­ber Luke [one of the builders] say­ing it wasn’t only a chal­lenge, it was a priv­i­lege to put Emma’s de­sign in place.”

Right and fac­ing page Emma Mor­ris and part­ner Tom Locke at the din­ing ta­ble with Hazel, Wil­son, Mau­rice and Kaya. The kitchen opens onto the front deck, which runs the length of the house. The ‘Beat’ pen­dant lights are by Tom Dixon and the ‘No.210r’...

Above right Mau­rice and Wil­son play on the back deck.

Above The en­trance leads di­rectly into the din­ing and liv­ing area.

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