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Project Palm Beach House De­signer Tony Smith Lo­ca­tion Wai­heke Brief A laid-back is­land home where ev­ery room has sea views.

A long list of de­ci­sions needs to be con­sid­ered when build­ing a dream home. When that home is in the mid­dle of Auck­land’s Hau­raki Gulf, ev­ery lit­tle re­solve is in­creased ten­fold, thanks to the sheer lo­gis­tics of get­ting ma­te­ri­als to the is­land. “You’ve got to be re­ally or­gan­ised – you’ve got to have time frames, there are ve­hi­cles and fer­ries to or­gan­ise so it’s a pretty full on project,” says Tony Smith of A1 Homes South Auck­land. Af­ter some per­suad­ing, he agreed to work with the Bur­dett fam­ily on their new build at Palm Beach. The stream­lined de­sign, hous­ing three gen­er­a­tions, was well worth the prepa­ra­tion ses­sions. “We worked closely with the own­ers, and sketched through sev­eral de­signs with them,” says Smith. “It worked out to be just what they wanted, so they’re re­ally happy with it.” The brief was to show­case west-fac­ing views in all five bed­rooms and the open­plan liv­ing area. The sub­di­vided site was par­tic­u­larly nar­row, with a steep slope across the width of the sec­tion, re­quir­ing a three-me­tre high re­tain­ing wall to be placed at the top of the sec­tion. The sliver of re­main­ing land holds a long home that is es­sen­tially one-room wide, start­ing with the grand­mother’s main suite and three chil­dren’s bed­rooms near the en­trance, be­fore lead­ing down to the liv­ing, kitchen and din­ing area, with the par­ents’ suite be­yond this. Ameni­ties such as the bath­rooms and laun­dry are tucked in on the bank side. Tim­ber decks with glass balustrades, ac­cessed by large slid­ing doors, add to the im­pres­sion of a never-end­ing view to the west. A key re­quire­ment was for the home to be at one with the spec­tac­u­lar site, so the house fol­lows the to­pog­ra­phy down three split lev­els. “Break­ing the house up into the three seg­ments gave a won­der­ful look from the side of the prop­erty,” says Smith, “which as­sisted with blend­ing into the nat­u­ral land­scape.” The mono-pitch roof helps the house set­tle into the land, but needed to be off­set with a sleek, con­tem­po­rary cladding op­tion. Just as the de­signer be­gan re­search­ing the project, James Hardie re­leased its new Axon Panel Smooth 400mm cladding sheets, with wide pan­els joined by a ver­ti­cal groove. “This worked out per­fectly,” says Smith, “com­ple­ment­ing the hor­i­zon­tal base­boards and elim­i­nat­ing the risk of nar­rower lines ap­pear­ing too busy.” The Axon Pan­els also pro­vided a crisp, flat look. “A lot of other claddings would sim­ply look too com­plex,” says Smith, “and take away the im­pact of the home.” Smith of­ten chooses James Hardie prod­ucts be­cause of their qual­ity, dura­bil­ity and low-main­te­nance per­for­mance. In the bath­rooms, the tiled walk-in show­ers are made with the brand’s 18mm-thick Hardie-Panel Com­pressed Sheet and 9mm Vil­l­aboard Lin­ing; strong enough to hold the tiles from floor to ceil­ing. With the ex­te­rior painted black, the fin­ish­ing touch to the home is a fea­ture red front door, adding to the sim­ple yet strik­ing street ap­peal – and a sign of a project well-thought out from start to fin­ish.

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