Where it counts

A unique Pauanui bach con­sist­ing of sep­a­rate pods is com­fort­able for a cou­ple or a crowd

Your Home and Garden - - Contents - Text by Deb­bie Har­ri­son. Pho­tog­ra­phy by Vanessa and Michael Lewis.

The best baches have plenty of space for fam­ily and friends to bunk down and join in the fun. The very best baches go a step fur­ther and of­fer friends and fam­ily their own sep­a­rate space, giv­ing them some­where to re­treat when they want pri­vacy or quiet time. With three grown daugh­ters (one mar­ried with a child and the oth­ers re­cently en­gaged), War­ren and Chris­tine Drinkwa­ter knew they wanted their Pauanui bach to be one of the very best, with the ca­pac­ity to ac­com­mo­date their grow­ing fam­ily.

“We built it for Chris­tine and I to en­joy, but with a view that we’d have space for over­flow when the kids vis­ited,” says War­ren.


How­ever, the cou­ple wanted to avoid rat­tling around in an over­sized house when they were on their own, so War­ren told ar­chi­tect Paul Leuschke, of Leuschke Kahn Ar­chi­tects, that the house needed to work just as well with two of them in it as it would with 10.

“We didn’t want some­thing oner­ous that re­quired too much clean­ing and had us bogged down each week­end do­ing chores. We wanted some­thing quite self-con­tained, with things we don’t have at our Auck­land home, so that it felt like a beach prop­erty and a bit dif­fer­ent to what we’re used to,” he ex­plains.

The ar­chi­tect spent a week­end sleep­ing at the fam­ily’s old 1970s bach (later sold and re­lo­cated to clear space for the new-build) in or­der to fig­ure out how to make the most of the site, views and sun.

The sketch he came back with in­cluded a main house with two bed­rooms, a bath­room, kitchen and liv­ing spa­ces. The pièce de ré­sis­tance, though, was a sep­a­rate ‘pod’ fea­tur­ing two bed­rooms, each big enough to ac­com­mo­date a queen-sized bed and a set of bunks, sep­a­rated by a bath­room in the mid­dle.

“Paul’s pod scheme was bril­liant – it was ex­actly what I’d been think­ing of. It means we all have spa­ces to re­treat to, plus it’s cre­ated a U-shaped ar­range­ment which al­lows for pri­vacy and cuts out wind,” says War­ren.


This is the Drinkwa­ters’ third new-build and their sec­ond de­signed by Paul Leuschke, so War­ren and Chris­tine had per­fect trust in Paul and his process.

Work started in Oc­to­ber 2015 and the house was com­pleted by Au­gust 2016. “It wasn’t a dif­fi­cult build,” re­calls War­ren. “Chris­tine and I would head down for site meet­ings some week­ends, but oth­er­wise we’d just com­mu­ni­cate reg­u­larly with the builders by phone. We stuck to Paul’s de­sign and fol­lowed that rea­son­ably truly, which helped make the project pretty stress-free.”

War­ren is a fan of ar­chi­tects and the value they can bring to a build. “They are costly, but they’re worth their weight in gold,” he says. “They have the skills to de­sign a house that works not only for the space but for how your fam­ily likes to live. In this house, there is no wasted space – there are no hall­ways or funny al­coves. All of it works to make this house feel a hell of a lot big­ger than it is.”


Paul de­signed an 80-squareme­tre deck to con­nect the guest pod and the main house. As well as cut­ting down on lawn area, the deck also acts as an­other liv­ing space. On a sunny day the fam­ily fling open the doors and stack­ing win­dows and ev­ery­one sprawls out­side, eat­ing, chat­ting, read­ing or doz­ing the hours away.

Like the rest of the house, the deck is well utilised. It boasts a cov­ered en­ter­tain­ing area off the kitchen and a cen­tral fire­place with its own seat­ing pit – a fun fea­ture the Drinkwa­ters and their friends and fam­ily en­joy at night as they cook piz­zas in the pizza oven and shoot the breeze. Roast­ing marsh­mal­lows with the grand­chil­dren is sure to be on the agenda in years to come.


It was a run­ning joke dur­ing the build that when­ever the Drinkwa­ters asked Paul what colour some­thing should be, he’d in­vari­ably an­swer, “Black.” Win­dow frames? Black. Ex­te­rior? Black. Roof? Black. So when it came to the interior, Paul gave his sug­ges­tion: black – against a back­drop of Re­sene ‘Dou­ble Alabaster’ walls. “Black’s the new white; it’s what you do,” laughs Paul.

Run­ning with the monochro­matic theme made it easy for the Drinkwa­ters to choose accessories and fit­tings, and interior de­signer Sarah Kerr gave them a few point­ers on what ma­te­ri­als would best suit their new beach house. Since then, Chris­tine has also in­tro­duced a pop of yel­low to bring in a beachy vibe.

Some­thing that catches the eye of most vis­i­tors are the graphic bath­room floor tiles. As soon as War­ren and Chris­tine saw them, they knew they’d hit the jack­pot. The tiles make a real state­ment, giv­ing both bath­rooms a ‘bou­tique ho­tel’ vibe.


Last year the Drinkwa­ters cel­e­brated their sec­ond Christ­mas in the new bach and the first with all three daugh­ters home from Christchurch, Auck­land and the UK – and they all look for­ward to many more. For War­ren and Chris­tine, this is just the start of many spe­cial mo­ments they can cel­e­brate at their one-of-a-kind bach, whether it’s just the two of them, or 10 or more.

yhg War­ren Drinkwa­ter, 57 (gen­eral man­ager of HomeTech), and Chris­tine Drinkwa­ter, 59.


OP­PO­SITE The Drinkwa­ters (pic­tured here are Chris­tine with daugh­ter Jenna and grand­son Oliver) love the en­tire kitchen, din­ing and fam­ily area: “It’s a beau­ti­ful place to chill out.” ABOVE The fam­ily use the lounge on the other side of the house to re­treat from the sun on hot days. Go for dou­ble duty where pos­si­ble: these win­dow seats have been de­signed to be used as spare beds when nec­es­sary.

Rather than play­ing it safe, the cou­ple went for a bold choice of bath­room floor tile, which gives the rooms

a luxe feel.

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