Designed by Andrew Simpson of WireDog Architecture, this small house is set on a sloping quarter-acre lot in New Zealand. It’s now home to Simpson and his fiancée and features a number of simple elements that make it feel cozy and larger than it is.
In the past Simpson experimented with a variety of different living scenarios, from making a home for himself in an active warehouse, to converting office spaces. When the couple attempted to live in a traditional home they quickly found it didn’t work for them: “We found standard houses strangely unsatisfying. It made me realize a three-bedroom house with a garden doesn’t suit everyone.”
So they moved on to forge their own home. New Zealand’s low population density has lead people to develop increasingly larger and expensive homes. Simpson’s approach was at odds with this; instead of a large, luxurious pad he opted for a much smaller, simpler and more intimate cabin.
The 538 square foot (50 square meters) house attempts to address their desires for a more experimental way of living. It’s oriented to take advantage of afternoon sun through floor-to-ceiling windows and doors, and features enough insulation to act as a passive house – a dwelling that doesn’t require and active heating system to maintain a comfortable interior temperature.
The exterior impression of the house is one of simplicity, both in materials and form. It’s a simple gable-roof structure clad with inexpensive corrugated metal. Much of the house’s charm is found on the inside however: “You enter through a modest door at the back, and the whole house opens toward the west. It’s a surprise… it is utilitarian, but there is also whimsy.”
The first floor contains the bathroom and an open plan kitchen/dining area with a living room. The upper level contains a cozy bedroom that’s made to feel spacious by leaving it open to the living room below. An exterior deck, accessed from the living room, provides a spot for relaxing on and overlooking the surrounding suburban landscape. The house was completed on a budget of $150,000.