Tones of tranquility

Perched above a small settlement in the Marlborough Sounds, this home exists in perfect unity with the dramatic coastal landscape over which it looks.

Here, there is a kaleidoscope of natural colour. To the east, the house frames views over the pristine turquoise-blue waters of Queen Charlotte Sound. Immediately surrounding the home and rising up behind it blanketing the gentle peaks are the distinctive earthen colours of native bush. To the south-east, undulating pastoral fields unfold in the valley, introducing different shades of fawn and green.

To fold the house into the natural contours of the land, Arthouse Architects devised a simple L-shaped plan with the longer side of the house extending along a ridgeline, reaching out to the east and the sound. At the end of this expansive form is the hero, occupied by the main bedroom.

Here, the ceiling and roofline open up to the east, while the form itself is cantilevered out over the land as it drops away. There’s a sense of floating over the bush in this room, in juxtaposition to the other areas of the house where connections to the immediate surrounds are more intimate and grounded. 

Framing the bedroom, the dark cladding is punctuated by a lighter feature — vertical European larch finished with Dryden WoodOil in Soft Grey. It’s a tone that speaks to both the native bush and the fawny hues of the farmland below, while softening the otherwise dark exterior cloak.

The same larch in Dryden WoodOil Soft Grey wraps inside and is used for the ceilings throughout; a beautifully textural rhythmic feature that becomes a central part of the pared-back Scandinavian aesthetic of the interior spaces.

Extending out to the soffits above decking areas that wrap around the entertaining areas of the house occupying the smaller side of the ‘L’, the light tone of the Soft Grey-covered larch becomes a consistent feature, connecting each part of this striking, yet resoundingly tranquil, family home.

Dryden WoodOil is a water repellent, non-filming timber protector that prevents the absorption of water deep into the timber, extending its lifespan without hiding the grain.

Images: Simon Devitt

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