This charred timber structure is one of a pair that are used as holiday homes. The buildings have been designed by the Auckland-based Cheshire Architects, and are set on the side of a hill in New Zealand that gently slopes down to the Tasman Sea below.
The two 312 square foot (29 square meter) residences have been designed for two separate clients. Originally the owners had intended to place the retreats much higher up the slope, but the architects disagreed with the position arguing that they would be less conspicuous among the low-lying grasses.
From designer Nat Cheshire: “Holiday homes have become this country’s decadence. We wanted a different vision for New Zealand’s coastal future.” The buildings overlook Kaiwaka Harbour, a natural estuary that stretches for almost 40 miles along New Zealand’s coast, and it was this scenery that the architects wanted to capture.
From the architects: “We spent a lot of time walking the site and rejected immediately the designated building site on top of the hill and pulled these little buildings down into the little dips and folds in this hillside that would shelter them from the wind. And would help them to feel an intimate part of this beautiful landscape rather than something watching over it.”
The interiors feature a simple layout. The first floor contains a small kitchenette, with a toilet placed behind it (and under the staircase). The remainder of the space is free to be occupied by the living room and dining area. The next level up contains a cozy bedroom that overlooks the floor below.
The interior has been finished in plywood throughout and features light wood furnishings. Large picture windows are used to create viewpoints of the surrounding landscape. The other model features a slightly different interior finish – it has glossy black paint walls and ceilings, along with brass detailing (such as the sink in the kitchen).
For more small and tiny retreats check out The Miner’s Shelter in Arizona by David Frazee. Or, this tiny charred mountain cabin retreat in Chile. See all retreats.
There appears to be a penchant among architects for bare plywood in many of the homes featured on Niall’s excellent website. I’d be curious to know how many of those designers would want to spend more than a short weekend surrounded (as in the bedroom photo above) with the stuff. As attractive as plywood grain can be, I feel its best in small doses, or perhaps with an interesting finish.
My personal opinion rather than a criticism.
@Michael, What, you don’t want to feel like you are being mailed somewhere? lol.
I have to agree I’m seeing more and more plywood in many modern houses, but I have to think it’s also an environmental consideration as I gyprock has a greater footprint than ply (depending how it’s made) . also in tiny homes where weight is an issue I can see plywood being a choice. still I prefer a crisp flat surface with colour and I can’t get the idea of being in a “pine box” out of my head, ha ha.
No edit function? I’m embarrassed by my error of for in my comment. Niall, are you there?
I’m not sure of the environmental footprint of plywood. I have a friend who works in that industry and he talks about the cyanide and toxic adhesives used in the manufacturing process. Perhaps someone with more expertise could comment.
Aaah! This is driving me nuts. I put my error of its for it’s in pointed brackets and they failed to appear in my comment. Sorry about this. I’m off to hide in my plywood box.
Michael, I think you managed to edit your comment? It reads just fine to me. I’m with you guys on the use of plywood/wood siding — I think having the walls, ceilings and floors finished in wood just saps the light and makes a space feel smaller. As for carbon footprint, to the best of my (limited) knowledge, plywood generally has a higher carbon footprint per kilogram than gypsum or plasterboard.