An­gle poise

The sharp an­gles and white in­te­rior of this New Zealand hide­away from a dra­matic con­transt with its wild sur­round­ings

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The sharp an­gles and white in­te­rior of this tent-shaped hide­away on Wai­heke Is­land, New Zealand, form a dra­matic con­trast to its wild sur­round­ings

If ar­chi­tect Chris Tate’s hol­i­day home on Wai­heke Is­land, off the coast of Auck­land in New Zealand, re­minds you of a tent, there’s a very good rea­son why. A few years ago, Chris took a camp­ing hol­i­day on a friend’s coun­try es­tate and it sparked the idea of build­ing his own re­treat from city life. ‘I was ly­ing in my tent, feel­ing very much at peace, when I re­alised that I could use its struc­ture as a start­ing point for a small, low-main­te­nance home,’ he re­calls. ‘ While I was there, some kids let down part of the tent and that in­spired the shape of the house I even­tu­ally built, with its un­even an­gles ta­per­ing to­wards the ground.’ In­evitably, Chris de­cided to name his new home Tent House. Five years in the mak­ing – it was com­pleted in 2015 – the metal-roofed home is en­tirely be­spoke. ‘There were no pre-fab­ri­cated el­e­ments,’ he ex­plains. ‘Be­cause noth­ing was square, you couldn’t give any­one ac­cu­rate di­men­sions to work from. It was a ques­tion of be­ing on site, us­ing your eye and mea­sur­ing ev­ery­thing out com­pletely by hand.’

The in­te­rior is ul­tra-sim­ple, with an open-plan liv­ing area, kitchen, of­fice and guest room down­stairs, as well as a bed­room and bath­room on a mez­za­nine level. The shape of the house al­lows for both sun­nier spots and shadier ar­eas – the for­mer around the huge glass wall at the front, and the lat­ter in what Chris refers to as a ‘cool con­tem­pla­tion zone’ at the back, shel­tered be­neath the roof canopy. The painted-steel spi­ral stair­case cre­ates a jux­ta­po­si­tion with the an­gu­lar ar­chi­tec­ture, and the fur­nish­ings are al­most com­pletely white, in or­der to con­trast cleanly with the for­est land­scape.

Al­though he rents out the house for hol­i­days, Chris also comes here of­ten with his wife Pony Mc­tate, a cro­chet de­signer, and their sons Fer­gus, six, and Bambi, four. Some­times, he vis­its alone to work when life on the fam­ily farm near Auck­land gets too hec­tic. ‘The house is com­fort­able all year round – Wai­heke has its own mi­cro­cli­mate, so it’s never too hot or too cold,’ he says. ‘And the is­land is al­ways a fun place to be, with its vine­yards, beaches and bo­hemian vil­lage vibe. Even though we have neigh­bours, the green­ery makes for a won­der­fully pri­vate re­treat.’ chris­tatearchi­tec­ture.com

Words AMY BRAD­FORD Pho­tog­ra­phy NATHALIE KRAG/ LIV­ING IN­SIDE Pro­duc­tion/styling TAMI CHRISTIANSEN

Liv­ing area A sofa from Trade Me, New Zealand’s ver­sion of Ebay, is tucked into a sunny cor­ner in front of the floor-to-ceil­ing win­dow (try the ‘Con­tin­u­ous’ de­sign by Faude­tHar­ri­son, avail­able at SCP). Soho Home sells sim­i­lar cush­ions Ex­te­rior In­spired...

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