Project
VIEW
Location
Wellington
Floor AreA
137 Square Metres

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A Simple (ish) Plan
Box™ has now designed over 250 architectural houses and you would have thought that we could start repeating ourselves. Not so.
Project
VIEW
Location
Wellington

Capital Cool

This is Wellington and, as is often the way in the windy city, the building platform was a little constrained. On this sub-divided site overlooking Houghton Bay, there was a knoll that fell away on every side. In fact, it required some sure-footedness on a ladder to climb up to the section from the top of a narrow right of way.

From the outset it was evident that parking would be problematic so, by burrowing into the knoll, a garage was carved out. The bedroom zone of the house was built on top of this, with the main living areas of the dwelling falling away to the west down the hill, on poles, suspended above the land.

It was prohibitive to include internal access; instead, an external stairway from the driveway leads up into a foyer which separates the bedrooms, accessed by a small set of stairs, from the living. The owners, a couple with one child, requested the third bedroom be a flexi space that might one day be useful for short-term accommodation rental. A separate access to this bedroom and its adjoining bathroom was created on the eastern elevation and the bathroom equipped with two doorways; the door that leads to the main part of the house (so that visitors can use it) can be closed off to effectively turn this room into a private en suite. This simple plan arrangement futureproofs the home and offers the option of extra income. In the living zone, a sunken lounge is distinguished from the dining and kitchen area – particularly useful in a tight floorplan – and a built-in half-height bookshelf provides further separation.

Clever storage was important in this 137-square-metre home. Window seating in the living room wraps around to become storage and a bookshelf. A separate laundry and linen cupboard lead of the bathroom adjacent to the main bedroom and a built-in desk occupies a small study area slivered in beside the second bedroom. While two bedrooms have built-in robes, in the flexi room/guest renter it was decided this would not be required. To the east, an angled exterior wall follows the shape of the land which allows the dwelling to keep within height-to-boundary restrictions. The owners love the quirkiness of the wedge-shaped bedrooms it creates. The dining/kitchen area is sandwiched between decking to the north (for light and sun) and expansive outdoor living to the south to capture the view across to the bay. At 4.8-metres wide this living zone, which has sliders each side, has a transparency that brings the bush-covered valley into high-definition perspective.