Bach living is a stripped-back approach to life: family time spent eating, playing board games and puzzles in the evening, and during the day getting outside and enjoying what the natural environment has to offer – water sports, backyard cricket and mountain biking.
This is exactly what Edwards White Architects’ Grant Edwards was after for his family when he bought a section in the most northern bay of Lake Taupo, Kinloch – a place he’d frequented since childhood.
It was equally important to him to stick to traditional bach typology: casual, easy-care and with an open connection to neighbouring houses.
“I wanted the place to feel like an old bach. Traditionally baches in the area would be stepped back from the road and wouldn’t have a driveway, with grass growing right up to the house.”
To achieve this, the form of the building was designed as two intersecting sheds – one with utility space and bedrooms, the other a double-height living space with a flexible use mezzanine.
The approach to the house is cut into the form of the building, creating a loggia that serves as both entry and porch. It’s a hospitable, relaxed entry, and the grass growing right up to the deck sets the tone of informality. To enhance that feel Grant chose a simple materiality for the exterior: steel, cedar and brick.
“The bricks are irregular – the effect of this wall, rather than it being really urban and manicured – is more rugged.”
Metal cladding wraps over the brick, and on the other walls of the two forms vertical timber boards clad the lower part of the building. The upper half is encased in black metal – “It’s kind of a shelter that runs over the main form.”
The added benefit of these three exterior materials is that they are low maintenance – a true pillar of bach typology. In the interior priority was given to the living space, and bedrooms were kept deliberately compact. The mezzanine floor captures views of the lake, hills and bush through the full height glazing.
The materials, again, reflect the desire for simplicity and the need to be robust; with kids knocking around there was no room for anything fussy. Consequently, the internal walls are lined with a grooved MDF, and the timber mezzanine floor, along with the window reveals and door frames, are constructed from clear-finished timber.
Grant took the opportunity to add his own personal touches to the interior in the form of the dining table, vanity tops and stair treads. He fabricated these from old Sky City bowling alley floor planks. The bach is now used as intended: mountain bikes, kayaks and paddle-boards are stored in the storage space; kids run in and out to the lake and the bike trails; and games of Monopoly are fought and won at the dining table in the evening.
The intention was to bring family and friends together, but there was one unforeseen consequence: “It has a really relaxing feel – I never want to leave. Anyone who visits never wants to go home!”