Karekare Bach unites design, architecture and nature in New Zealand

Karekare Bach unites design, architecture and nature in New Zealand

This beach house close to the small town of Karekare, created for designer Dean Poole by Auckland based Stevens Lawson Architects, was conceived to provide an ‘authentic New Zealand experience’

A bach is New Zealand’s answer to the humble beach cabin, and the Karekare Bach represents the epitome of its building genre. The simple wooden structure was designed by Auckland based studio Stevens Lawson Architects, headed by Nicholas Stevens and Gary Lawson, as an extraordinairy escape for the designer Dean Poole and his family. 

Situated deep in native bush, a stone’s throw from the small town of Karekare, this bach is the ultimate retreat; simple, fairly compact and surrounded by nature. This was a direct response to the owners’ brief, which outlined a holiday escape that would provide the ‘authentic New Zealand experience.’ The architects worked hard to distil this into a building and Karekare Bach has been designed to perfection, from its overall proportions to its smallest details. 

Karekare Bach kitchen island

The structure sits perched on a steep slope overlooking the sea. A decked terrace surrounded by Nikau Palms and orientated towards the beach and water makes for the perfect spot to sit amidst a chorus of bird-song and take in the views, which include the famous black sand beach below, where Jane Campion’s film ‘The Piano’ was shot. 

Stepping inside from there is a large, open plan living space lined in plywood that contains a sitting area, dinning and kitchen - the latter fully equipped with freestanding furniture and seamlessly incorporated modern appliances by Fisher & Paykel. Upstairs from there are the bedrooms; a master with en suite, two smaller rooms and an independent bathroom. 

The overall design ‘references both the simple cabins built by early settlers and a Maori ‘Whare’ (house),’ explain the architects, linking this modest summer abode to the region’s past, as much as to its cultural and geographical context. §

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