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