In this rural family home just outside of Whangarei, crisp white walls are juxtaposed with exposed timber beams. A polished concrete floor and textural in situ concrete wall deliver a palette of refined simplicity.
The house covers a modest footprint of 204m2; the plan defined by an east to west axis with the main living area opening to the north and the Pukenui Forest beyond.
Winner of the 2022 Rural Home of the Year, Black Ridge House was designed by Toby Chapman-Smith and Benjamin Connor, with the house now the family home of Chapman-Smith, his wife and two young children.
As a family home, he describes it as “simple, with details that complement the wild rural landscape”.
The brief called for modesty, functional spaces and a house that would embrace the relative wilderness of the surrounding environment. When it came to heating, a woodburner was paramount to achieve the relaxed yet functional rural aesthetic with a nod to the traditional farmhouse.
Being the home’s only heating, the woodburner also had to deliver performance – the site is relatively exposed and was designed around maximising the sense of being part of the forest that extends out from the ridge line to which the house is anchored.
The solution was a freestanding Tasman Woodburner by Warmington; like the house itself it is modest in scale but packs a punch when it comes to performance and heat output.
Handcrafted in New Zealand, the Tasman Woodburner’s aesthetic harks back to traditional cooking methods with its sleek cooktop but delivers an overtly contemporary heating option with a 17kW heat output. Meeting Clean Air standards, its wider viewing panel allows for the allure of the flames to become the organic focus of the room.
Even when not in use, its simple yet robust stature evokes the notion of being cocooned in a space of comfort and shelter.
In the lounge of Black Ridge house, soft leather sofas are placed around the woodburner, while a low-hanging chair swings gently in the corner of a space that can only be described as beautifully inviting.
Here, in the 2022 Rural Home of the Year, the crackle of flames and their flickering light dancing across the polished concrete floor creates an enviable ambience.