Nestled in the lush vegetation of the idyllic island of Paihia, New Zealand, lies the striking Bay of Islands House by award-winning Herbst Architects. Situated on a hill, it enjoys stunning views of sandy beaches and turquoise waters as far as the eye can see. With a rich history, the Bay of Islands was home to early Maori settlers nearly 700 years ago, and later given its name by James Cook when he first sailed into New Zealand. In order to design a home fit for this incredible site, Herbst Architects sourced largely local materials and made sure to maximise the view from all angles of the house.

The clients for this project were a retired couple who wanted a permanent residence where they could entertain friends and family, with children and grandchildren coming and going. The Bay of Islands House replaced an existing house on the site and met the clients’ brief for an inviting home with plenty of character.

 “All we needed to do was capture the view”

– Lance, Herbst Architects

To create a dramatic entrance, the magnificent view is not visible until you enter the top of the driveway - having climbed a public then private road before reaching this point. As you walk up to the entrance, the view is finally revealed through two sets of glazed doors - framed by the 'arms' of the house which spread out to either side.

The interior of the Bay of Islands house is just as intriguing as the exterior. One arm contains the sleeping area and the other the living area. The living space is the main entertaining area, consisting of the open-plan lounge, kitchen and dining space which leads out to the outdoor kitchen/BBQ-area and swimming pool. On the other side, the arm hosts two bedrooms, a guest suite, two bathrooms, a storage area and a study raised above the garage. The two arms are topped by an angled roof with a gull-wing inspired shape, giving a lift to the house whilst creating an interesting visual element.

An essential part of Herbst Architects’ practice is ensuring the building reflects the locality of the site. For a sustainable approach, New Zealand red beech was used for beams, kitchen cabinets, the soffit and ceiling lining. Red beech is hard-wearing and selectively picked on the South Island, rather than farmed. Spotted gum tree from Australia was used on the decking outside of the house and timber sunscreens were used to filter sunlight through the roof whilst also creating a feeling of airiness to the exterior. To contrast the warm timber elements of the house, white masonry walls create an interesting distinction between the lightness of the wood and heaviness of the stonework.

The 675 Chairs in walnut have been selected for the dining room table. Originally designed by Robin Day in 1952, its classic and fluid shape beautifully compliments the red-toned timber inside the Bay of Islands House.

With a timeless yet modern design, Herbst Architects have designed a fascinating house that accommodates the brief of a family home, while capturing the breathtaking view of the bay from all rooms in the house. It is sure to be enjoyed for a long time.

Photography by: Jackie Meiring 
Source: Herbst Architects