Three cedar barns by Hayes Builders form one big rural-living hit

High in the hills of the rural-Auckland suburb of Waimauku, a cedar-clad house stands proudly on its four-acre site. Its trio of gabled, barn-like forms represent unity while offering the functional benefits of differentiation between living and sleep spaces. With complete privacy from the neighbours and views of farmland, native bush and pine forest, this is a retreat in which to embrace a sense of cosy contentment with life’s simple pleasures.
For the owners of Hayes Builders Samantha (Sammy) and Sam Hayes-Stevenson, this property is the happy result of three years of hard work. Having been living overseas, they arrived in Aotearoa, where Christchurch-born Sam grew up, in 2019. Zimbabwe native Sammy was as drawn as he was to wide open spaces, and when they found this piece of land, they were both up for the task of making it home.

TOP & ABOVE “Our entryway was designed to be a place where we can offload bags and shoes, and hide the messier bits of day-to-day life,” says Sammy. “Being a rural property, things get muddy, so keeping our raincoats and boots in here to avoid traipsing drips and dirt through the house is really handy. We walk the dog every day, so this space stores her leads within easy reach.”

“We tend to be a little bit erratic in making decisions and often act on a whim,” says Sammy. “I found this section on Trade Me, drove out here and called Sam from the gate to let him know I’d found our future home. I grew up on a coffee farm in Zimbabwe and this section reminds me so much of that. When Sam saw it, he absolutely loved it too, so we bought it — and then figured out how to sell the house we were living in to pay for it.”
Needless to say, it all worked out. Collaborating with Sam’s architect sister Lucy Hayes-Stevenson on the four-bedroom design while Sammy focused on the interior and Sam took charge of the craftsmanship saw their vision come together quickly. “We knew we wanted three separate wings: a living wing, a main bedroom wing and a kids’ wing,” says Sammy. “It was amazing working with Lucy as she really listened to us, and from a structural point of view, Sam understood what would work, which definitely helped.”

ABOVE Providing a look that’s softening with time, the home is clad in rusticated cedar from Hermpac, finished with Resene Wood-X oil in Shale. Sammy and Sam engaged landscape designer Kirsten Sach to devise a garden scheme before getting stuck in and doing the planting themselves, using native grasses and groundcovers for an easily maintained look that also meets consent requirements.

A paved path leading to the middle ‘barn’ ends at the entry vestibule of the finished home, which features a coat rail and built-in timber bench seat for storage. Stepping further inside reveals the main living wing, in which sturdy macrocarpa trusses supported by extra-large metal brackets sourced from a blacksmith and given a charcoal tint frame the high ceiling. Below it, an expansive glass facade takes in the epic outlook.


TOP Because a pendant light wouldn’t work in this space, Sam chiselled and drilled into the beam above the kitchen bench to make a channel they painted with a rust effect to match the truss bolts before Sirrom Electrical installed an LED strip in it.” It’s one of our favourite features because of the time and workmanship it took to get right,” says Sammy. “We love how it looks and it lights up the bench so well.” Beside Tractor stools from Freedom, the oak dining table and benchseats were custom-made by Matakana’s WRW & Co, who also did the bathroom vanities. Underfoot is Quick-Step Imperio engineered timber flooring in Nougat Oak Oiled from Flooring Xtra. ABOVE The kitchen’s colour palette includes Resene Double Lemongrass on the rear cabinetry and Resene Eighth Lemongrass on the island cabinetry, all made by Tauranga’s Creative Kitchens & Interiors. New Wave Dove Grey tiles from Tile Warehouse form a hand-crafted splashback that melds well with the benchtop in Excava Ceasarstone and is repeated in the ensuite for continuity.

A neutral colour palette, textures and fibres informed by nature, and influences from Sammy’s African heritage make this open-plan kitchen, living and dining wing somewhere you can completely relax. “Sam trusted me with the interiors and was really chill about whatever I wanted to do,” says Sammy. “We’ve renovated before and have a similar style. He likes simple and clean, and my African background means I’m very earthy and love a lot of colour, but I scaled it back here to focus on muted tones. We’re quite inspired by the bush around us, and wanted the house to fit into the land.”

TOP Adjacent to the kitchen island, above a sideboard inherited from Sam’s late grandad, Please Pass the Bliss by Jen Sievers complements the colours in the kitchen. ABOVE Pace Pools constructed the concrete pool that sits on the far side of the property; it’s not quite an infinity pool but still enjoys an incredible vista. The couple have planted fruit trees around their water tanks for disguise and their delectable harvest — next, they’re considering getting a few alpacas to help them keep the grass under control.

The adjacent galley kitchen features open oak shelving and farmhouse-esque cabinetry painted a lichen green. Beneath the quartz Caesarstone benchtop, the island has loads of storage — shelves on one side and drawers and cupboards with leather pulls on the other. “The Caesarstone is really durable, so it suits us as we’re absolute hooligans,” jokes Sammy.

TOP A heavy stone Hume table by David Shaw is suitably grounded next to a Long Island sofa from Freedom upholstered with family-friendly leather. Light streams into this space in the afternoon, so the installation of opaque window coverings by Urban Blinds has taken the glare off while still allowing a view right through. ABOVE A “lifesaver” for rinsing off a mucky pup or kids before they hit the house, the laundry tub is made using Artisan Aqua Gloss tiles with Artisan White Gloss tiles on the splashback, both from Tile Space. Brass edging keys into the Rounded Rectangle hand shower by ABI Interiors and leather door pulls supplied by Creative Kitchens & Interiors for the cabinetry, below the benchtop in White Valencia Formica by Laminex.

Behind the kitchen is the scullery, and a laundry fitted with an inset dog bath for their much-loved husky, Bobbi.

TOP & ABOVE Lime-based plaster coat Marmorino KS by Novacolor brings texture and a hard-wearing, waterproof finish to these walls, which goes well with the towel rail by Elite Bathroomware, Elysian Minimal mixers by Abi Interiors and Zellige Salvia wall tiles from Tile Warehouse. On Oslo Bianco Rotto Matt floor tiles from Tile Warehouse, the little stool is from Studio Black in nearby Riverhead.

From this central living wing, high-stud hallways with angled ceilings and tall doors connect through to the other two. Sammy and Sam have created a sanctuary in their bedroom barn. A rich green on the walls in their sleep space encourages a deeper sense of relaxation, and it’s a room that Sammy just loves. The ensuite has a spa-like feel thanks to its dual basins and walk-in shower with his-and-hers shower heads. Also in this wing is an office that allows the couple to work from home.

TOP Dulux Flat Island on the walls in the couple’s bedroom makes it an atmospheric haven. On the wall on either side of the bed are Holophane Cone lightshades by Vintage Industries, the side tables and headboard are from Freedom and the bedding is from Città and Farmers. ABOVE A lighter mood is set in the ensuite by New Wave Dove Grey wall tiles and Venice Villa Ivory floor tiles, both from Tile Warehouse. 360 Glass made the mirrors in all three bathrooms.

The children’s wing has bedrooms for Sammy and Sam’s daughters Nala (4) and baby Rivah, plus their bathroom and playroom. A concrete effect on the walls, beige carpet underfoot and linen curtains form a soothing backdrop to which personality has been applied in the girls’ individual sleep spaces.

TOP Nala’s room is pretty in putty-pink Dulux Parchment Paper. Décor highlights in here include her headboard from Bohème Home and stool from Bunnings. ABOVE On Rivah’s walls is Dulux Half Ngataringa Bay. Her bassinet from Bohème Home is a great match for the chair from The Importer.

The process of building a dream home for the whole family has been a positive experience for this driven duo. Sam appreciates how skillfully Sammy was able to work within their budget while realising their vision for the design, and she has high praise for him too. “He worked so hard building our home. I think he had 10 days off in 11 months and he stayed so calm throughout.”

ABOVE A sense of cohesion is achieved in the powder room through the use of the same tiles, mirror, tapware and Pod basin from Raw Concrete Design as in the kids’ bathroom, along with the timber-edged PDL Iconic Essence power sockets by Schneider Electric incorporated elsewhere in the house.

It’s certainly been a big job creating this abode, but they’re thrilled with the result. “This is where we envisage spending our next 10 years,” says Sammy. “It’s the perfect design for young kids because I can see them playing outside on the deck or lawn through the big windows. It’s so lovely. We feel really settled here.

Words Holly Jean Brooker
Photography Duncan Innes

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