At architects Hamish & Jane Peddie’s bach in Banks Peninsula, nostalgia meets now

In a clearing surrounded by trees, this holiday home in a picturesque bay in Te Pātaka o Rākaihautū/Banks Peninsula seems to rewind time. There are none of the accoutrements that tend to accompany today’s summer- vacation stations. No boat parked in the drive. No pool to cool off in. No outdoor room beneath a cantilevered roof. This is, purely and simply, essential territory. The luxury is in the freedom.

ABOVE Integrating the holiday home with the backdrop was important to the owners, who’ve left the macrocarpa cladding to weather off naturally. Silver tussock is planted along the gravel drive, the lemon tree is handy when it comes to making pudding, and the lawn is a leisure zone where games of pétanque, badminton, cricket and chasey take place.

The owners bought this property in 2005 as somewhere to embrace the polar opposite of their urban existence in Ōtautahi/Christchurch. Here, at the base of the valley, among farms where sheep, cattle and horses roam the endless tawny hills, they found an old weatherboard cottage and some rumpty outbuildings on an acre of land. They set about disestablishing the manicured garden and concrete pathways that surrounded the house, planted tussocks to punctuate the lawn and let nature take its course.
Five years later, when they asked their son and daughter-in-law, architects Hamish Peddie of Wilkie & Bruce Architects and Jane Peddie of JHA, to extend the dwelling, there was a surprise in store. As Jane remembers, “The earthquakes had shaken the classic cottage off its foundations.” Time for Plan B.

TOP Black and gold Moroccan pendant lights from Accent Lighting and ebony-legged S2 bar stools by David Moreland Design tie in well with each other and the plywood-lined walls. Along with the inherited yellow dining chairs, cushions by Orla Kiely on the built-in benches behind this bring a colourful, modernist twist to the scene. ABOVE Jane and Hamish’s daughters (left) and a young friend explore their creative talents on the blackboard on one side of the kitchen island. The tramping hut aesthetic is charmingly evident in this functional yet comfortable space, and despite this pavilion’s small footprint, there’s plenty of room to move around. WiFi is limited on the property, and there’s no TV or cellphone reception, so the old landline tucked into the timber nook in the foreground comes in handy. The kids even understand how it works!

There was little need for a brief on this new build; Hamish and Jane had holidayed with family many times, so had an intuitive understanding of the requirements. “It needed to be something basic that made reference to the tramping-hut aesthetic, and to the farm sheds and shearing buildings around it,” says Jane.
In this respect, the choice of macrocarpa cladding was genius. “We liked that it’s a timber sustainably grown in New Zealand and doesn’t need to be treated,” says Jane. The weathered-off horizontal boards have a rusticated appearance fitting for this rural enclave, and a linking volume wrapped in black corrugated steel amplifies the agricultural allusion.

TOP A 90cm-wide Falcon oven with a gas hob takes centre stage below the slot windows in the kitchen. The windowsills are decorated with a vase filled with branches of foraged Japanese quince, and found objects including a special stone, a pinecone and two birds’ nests that came down from the trees during a strong wind, one with a cracked blue egg in it. The trio of cylindrical 294 spotlights on the wall are from Accent Lighting. ABOVE The bench seats have pull-out legs and can be converted into beds; they were made by JB Joinery, as were the wooden storage boxes on wheels beneath them.

Hamish is one of five siblings, so designing for the multi-generational experience was key. With a larger footprint, this might mean two separate living rooms; with 150m2 to work with, that was not an option. Instead, there are two mono-pitched pavilions linked by an entrance hall with a laundry in a cupboard off to the side. One pavilion contains the dining room and kitchen, another the living room. Three small bedrooms are tucked in behind.

ABOVE Reminiscent of a sea urchin, a bamboo Kina pendant light by David Trubridge catches the eye above the American white oak Kapiti dining table crafted by Davies Furniture. The old enamel teapot on the table seems made for this holiday home and is teamed with retro mugs by Hornsea Pottery. Windows upon windows upon windows in this space allow for a wonderful view of lush greenery from ceiling to floor.

The kitchen, where members of the younger generation like to make pancakes with their grandfather in the mornings, is the command deck on this mothership. An industrial-size oven and a generous fridge/freezer were imperative. These team with bulletproof stainless-steel benches and plywood cabinetry that melds with the wall panelling used throughout the home.
“The plywood harks back to the tramping hut and also serves a structural purpose,” explains Jane. At the time of building, memories of the way plasterboard cracked in the earthquakes were still fresh. Plywood panels act as bracing but also have some natural give. 

TOP The bach has a single bathroom with only one Duravit Vero basin to serve all and sundry, but there is a separate loo. Cabinetry by Michel César keeps toiletries and extra towels stored away, a neat and tidy approach in keeping with this pared-back space in which there are onlya few well-considered decorative touches, including a stone soap dish and handblown glass Otto vase from Città (a match for the larger-sized one in the living room, pictured on the following page). ABOVE This deck gets the afternoon sun, but blankets including a handwoven Morandi linen throw from Città are always on hand if the temperature dips.

Over in the living room, the woodburner is backed by a concrete trombe wall that holds and disperses the heat. The fireplace is a novelty for Hamish and Jane’s two pre-teen daughters, who on winter afternoons like to lie on the rug on the silver beech floors, playing games or simply watching the flick of the flames, while across in the kitchen their grandmother bakes her famous self-saucing lemon delicious pudding.
The separate-but-together layout of this house ties in perfectly with days spent suspended in time — those rare but precious periods when the hours seem to slow. The morning sun spilling into the living room is temptation enough to be drawn into the day, and the line-up of found objects on the kitchen windowsill is testament to the myriad mini adventures to be had here. The children enjoy exploring the hills, building huts and dragging the dinghy out of the shed to join Grandad on the water. Sometimes a picnic on the edge of the lawn bisects all this activity: three generations gathered beneath the trees, plump kererū swooping above.

TOP One of the owners likes to play the piano, and other musical tastes are catered for by the stereo and record player, although much of the vinyl collection is folk music. Above this is a print titled Shoalhaven Gorge by Australian artist Margaret Preston. ABOVE Jane designed and made the small stool in the living room from 100-year-old rimu and Australian hardwood. A hint of a Boundary Road print by Grahame Sydney can be seen above the sofa made extra-inviting by a throw and cushion from Città.

This lazy grazing is back-to-basics fun, nostalgia happening in the here and now. Family members who turn up on a whim are accommodated somehow — once the bedrooms are taken, there’s ample space outside for a tent, plus the built-in bench seats in the dining zone pull out to become to single beds.
Double glazing aside, if it gets a little chilly indoors, there’s always another blanket. “As much as they could, my in-laws wanted to reduce the operational energy of the house,” says Jane. Water is harvested from the roof and there’s the option for solar.

ABOVE Paul McGregor of McGregor Home Builders travelled from Christchurch to the peninsula to construct the bach, which sits on timber piles on the slightly sloping site. “This area can be very wet at times, so we wanted the house to have good ground clearance for durability,” says Jane. A family friend, Pete Douglas of Evans Douglas Consulting Engineers, helped with the structural design of the roof, foundations, earthquake bracing and concrete trombe wall.

When the sun starts to disappear behind the hills, the dwelling becomes a magnet. Large windows in the dining room capture the last of the rays as everyone clusters around the table on chairs Jane’s mother-in-law made in a woodwork class. There are vague plans to replace the painted yellow dining chairs left behind by the property’s previous owners with something new, but what’s the hurry? Out here, there’s always another day.  

Words Claire McCall
Photography Sarah Rowlands

Filed under:

error: Copyright The Pluto Group Ltd 2022 - contact us for usage licence

Homestyle shares
modern ways
to make a home
in New Zealand

Sign up to receive the latest in your inbox

Thanks for subscribing to Homestyle's newsletter - we'll be in touch soon.