The Dune House

A coastal home designed for sharing

An informal coastal home with relaxed and versatile spaces, it is a comfortable home for two that easily caters for hosting guests, occasional intergenerational co-habitation and working from home.

We expect that a new home will reflect changes in peoples’ lifestyles and family groupings. Household dynamics and work patterns increasingly require the flexibility to work from home – there is growing demand for multi-purpose spaces that can readily adapt as occupants’ needs change.

Our clients wanted a relaxed home with flexible spaces where they could comfortably work from home and also easily share with friends and their adult family. Our response is two separate buildings; a 2-bedroom house and a secondary independent pavilion both opening onto the hub of the home – a shared generously-sized sheltered courtyard.

The exterior references a NZ beach-house vernacular; simple metal boat sheds, unassuming concrete blockwork structures, an “additive” typology of connected structures and a lightweight, open-to-the-elements living space. The durable outer “shell” of the building is prefinished aluminium with communal areas finished in warm-toned band-sawn timber. The interiors are simple with clean lines, white walls, and wooden floors.

Located on the lower North Island’s Kapiti Coast, where strong winds can make outdoor living a challenge, our design provides shelter by extending walls and the roof to create options for outdoor sheltered spaces protected from both the wind and the sun.

The house nestles into the dunes, fitting neatly within the site constraints: a minimum floor level relative to coastal sea level, a restrictive height covenant and sloping ground contours. The full potential of a great site with stunning ocean views has been realised in a home that carefully balances communal spaces with privacy.

McKenzie Higham The Dune House Western Aspect
McKenzie Higham The Dune House Courtyard on Arrival
McKenzie Higham The Dune House Kitchen to Outdoor Living 1
McKenzie Higham The Dune House Dining and Living
McKenzie Higham The Dune House Courtyard from Pavillion1
McKenzie Higham The Dune House Northern Aspect
Photography by Paul McCredie
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