On an island in the Hauraki Gulf of New Zealand, just a short ferry trip from Auckland, is the Cowes Bay home by Cheshire Architects. A spectacularly unassuming home, it takes influence from its natural surrounds and is nothing short of a haven for its owners.
The clients had owned the land, which looks out across the gulf and neighbouring islands, for quite some time and had been using it to camp and picnic upon. Not surprisingly, they already felt a strong connection to the area when they decided it was time to build something more permanent.
The home they commissioned with local firm Cheshire Architects serves as a relaxing and secluded escape from the clients’ city lives – a place to unwind and reconnect with both nature and loved ones. The space is designed to be able to entertain up to 30 people at a time, yet to sleep only the clients, who chose to keep the sanctuary sacred for themselves to unwind in at night.
Full-height operable windows and doors open out to the incredible water views and native bushland beyond, transforming the home into somewhat of a pavilion that comes secondary to its surroundings, ranked as the fifth-best region in the world to visit by Lonely Planet.
Meanwhile, a natural material palette of stone and timber renders the home with the surrounding landscape while creating a gentle play on light and texture. At the westernmost side of the house, a meandering stone wall snakes its way through the lawn. Immensely grounded, the Cowes Bay home feels like it was always there, or was always supposed to be.
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