Thirteen years after Erica and Frans de Court purchased a block of land on the cliff overlooking Owhanake Bay on Waiheke Island to build their dream holiday home, the house is finally complete and drawing plenty of attention, winning the prestigious Auckland-Northland Master Builders Supreme Award for the 2015 House of the Year. The outdoor areas of this classic style home have been designed to match the rustic interior and feature timber and aggregate concrete patios specially designed to suit the location.
“When we first bought the land our intention was to design and build a home reasonably quickly but we couldn't decide what to do so we put our plans on hold and moved a 50m2 ready built bach on the site,” explains Erica. “We used the batch for about five years while we decided exactly what we wanted.”
Frans says choosing the right architect for their project was tough and he was adamant they wanted a classic style home and nothing too ‘modern or shiny’. Christian Anderson’s designs suited the couple’s requirements perfectly and planning began.
“The brief to Christian was we wanted a classic, rustic natural look to suit this amazing location,” explains Erica. “We wanted materials that would fit that theme and provide a connection to the land,.”
With Kevin O’Grady, Director of K2 Builders - a renowned local builder on the island - on board, construction got underway.
“All the materials chosen by the de Court’s and Christian’s design has meant the house has turned out very well,” says Kevin. “We are very pleased it was awarded the Supreme Award in the Master Builders Awards. With the use of different materials and lots of angles, it was more involved to get right than it looks.”
To extend the cool, classic, airy interior style to the outside, the de Court’s decided they wanted to use timber inserts and a very light coloured aggregate concrete for the patio areas to give the feel of the beach, which is just a three minute walk down the hill. “I had seen a similar look in my sister’s house and wanted to use the same Purple Heart timber - a South American semi-sustainable hard wood - that we used on the interior trusses for the patios with a very light concrete.”
“Chris Pope from Firth on Waiheke did a great job helping to get the mix just right,” explains Kevin. “After ten test samples we struck the right combination of materials - Mountain Burst pebble, white oxide, crushed white limestone and crushed shells. It was relatively tricky to get the heights and fall just right but the end result is very worthwhile. All the slab concrete and block fill also came from Firth. I have used Chris and his guys for as long as I have been working on the island. They are great to deal with.”
“We couldn't be more happy with the overall look and finish of the house,” says Frans. “Christian’s design has been just what we wanted and Kevin’s craftsmanship, with the help of suppliers like Firth, has produced an amazing home for us. We are very, very pleased.”