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a family affair

From Habitat magazine - issue 03

This spacious beach house near Napier has room for three generations of family and any friends that just happen to drop by.

Hosting a hoard of children and grandchildren at the beach house may not be everyone’s idea of a relaxing holiday, but for Sally and David Hansen, there are few things they’d rather do.

Exterior beach house

When they commissioned Auckland architect Brent Hulena to design their home at Shoal Bay, about an hour and a half’s drive from Napier, the major requirement was that it be large enough for the entire family.

“We wanted a house that would cope with the whole team,” says Sally. “We have three adult children and seven grandchildren under the age of six – we wanted them to really be able to enjoy the beach. We love our grandchildren and we’re just so lucky to be able to have everyone here together.”

Sitting on a flat 1000m2 section, the house is oriented toward the water to the east and separated from the beach by nothing more than a gently sloping lawn. A striking feature of the design is the mono-pitch corrugated iron roof, which is kicked up to address the water.

Red kitchen and bunkroom
Left: A vibrant splash of raspberry red accents the breakfast bar. Right: Architect Brent Hulena designed the bunks in the children’s bedroom. All king singles, they are topped off with vibrant checked duvets. Right:The modular sofas were custom designed and built by Sally and David’s son-in-law, and are big enough to comfortably seat the whole family.

“The roof pitches across the front of the house and down the return at the back,” says Brent. “On the ocean side, there’s a 2m-deep overhang, and below this runs a band of horizontal louvres that filter light into the house and provide some protection from the sun.”

A substantial stack-bonded concrete block chimney anchors the northern end of the house, with another on the western side. Aluminium joinery and extensive glazing complement the black-stained cedar vertical weatherboards. The exterior palette features shades of grey, white and black, says Brent.

Inside, the design and layout have been kept just as simple, but Sally was keen to introduce accents of raspberry to offset the grey carpet – chosen to hide any sand tracked into the house by young feet – and the walls, which are painted in Resene Black White and Resene Triple Concrete.

“We’d seen a kitchen that featured raspberry red and that was our inspiration for incorporating this colour,” says Sally.

The glass splashback on the breakfast bar is a vibrant red, as are the outdoor umbrellas, and red throw cushions accent the soft grey of the long sofas in the living area. These were custom built by Sally and David’s son-in-law, Jason Windhager, who owns furniture and fitting company Hawkes Bay Manufacturing.

While Sally and David had a clear vision for the home’s interior, so did their architect.

Exterior dining area

“The aim was to make the interior spaces light and airy,” says Brent. “At its maximum, the ceiling height is 4.5m high, but the louvres on the exterior give the rooms a very human scale. There’s also a lot of texture, with the concrete block on the fireplace, the polished concrete hearths, the louvred windows and the timber floors.”

A spacious open-plan living, dining and kitchen area occupies the northern end of the house. Bifolding doors open off either side of this space, providing access to the large terrace on the seaward side and the patio on the more sheltered western side of the house. Here, an outdoor fireplace and large dining table beneath a louvred ceiling make the perfect spot for evening meals.

Sally says the kitchen and living space is one of their favourite parts of the house.

“It’s our gathering place,” she says. “The main room has a 1.5m-wide fireplace that heats the whole house in winter, and during summer we go outside onto the eastern terrace and have breakfast, then we gradually work our way around the house and have dinner around the big table on the west side, so we get to enjoy the sun right up until the last dying minutes of the day.”

While the house was designed for large groups of people, it also functions well when Sally and David stay there alone, says Brent.

“The main bedroom is adjacent to the kitchen and has its own bathroom as well as an adjoining library,” he says. “So if just the two of them come down here late in the evening, they’ve got everything they need in this area and they don’t have to heat the whole house.” There are two more large double bedrooms, both with tiled ensuite bathrooms (bringing the total number of bathrooms to five), and a bunkroom for the kids.

Interior dining area
Shoal bay

Brent custom-designed the three sets of bunks, which are all king singles, leaving the children plenty of space to grow. The bunkroom opens out onto a patio/service area on the southern end of the house, where there’s an outdoor shower and ample room for all the bikes and beach toys. And, as if they didn’t already have enough room to run around, the three-car garage has been carpeted and converted into a games room, with foldout couches providing additional sleeping options.

Building began on the house in February 2004, and Sally and David enjoyed their first Christmas there at the end of last year. Despite not yet having been there a full year, they already love everything about the place.

“It’s a very friendly house and a lot of people pop in. Everyone says ‘wow’ when they see the place. Brent is very clever and perceptive, and he read us really well. He’s designed a house that everyone thinks is wonderful,” enthuses Sally.


Nor can Sally speak highly enough of the local tradespeople who carried out the construction.

“We’re thrilled with the work they did, especially our builder Graham Green – he’s an absolute perfectionist. All our workmen have been fantastic.”

And sharing this idyllic spot with their own family wasn’t enough for Sally and David. They wanted other families to be able to enjoy it too. In 2001, they won the tender to subdivide Shoal Bay, and subsequently put in power, sewerage and phone lines. Two years later, in January 2003, nine of the sections were put up for auction and it’s not hard to see why they sold instantly.

“The subdivision has gone exceptionally well,” says Sally. “Of the original 51 sections, there are now only 16 left.”

Kitchen manufacturer: Mackersey Construction Blinds: Weathermaster Venetian blinds Flooring: Tarkett from Jacobsens
Louvres: LouvreTec Get the interior look with Resene Zylone SpaceCote tinted to Resene Black White, Resene Triple Concrete and Resene Afterburner.
Cladding: cedar ply and battens from Tumu Timbers Get the exterior look with Resene Waterborne Woodsman tinted to Resene Crowshead.
Furniture: custom made by Hawkes Bay Manufacturing
Heating: Warmington.
Concrete outdoor table and chairs
Concrete outdoor table and chairs: Alfresco
Lighting: halogens and incandescent from Lighting Direct Tiling: Penguin Ceramics, Havelock North.

Alternative solution

create a warm, cosy atmosphere for this room

Genevieve Hogg, interior designer, suggests this design alternative...

A warm styled room.

A warm, cosy atmosphere could be created using an earthy palette and pine furniture, such as an armoire with shelving inside it for storage, and a large dining table. High-backed pine chairs at the kitchen bench would be a safe option for children to sit on. Added texture in the form of a large, colourful gabbe rug and a flat woven basket or wooden bowl above the fireplace would give the space an ethnic feel.

A grouping of two- and three-seater sofas, with two armchairs in cane or seagrass with a checked fabric, could be complemented by some footstools – in lieu of a coffee table – for the children to sit on. Two lamps, with milk pail bases and square hessian shades, would add interest to a narrow pine table between the seating area and dining table.

Fabric Atelier
Fabric Atelier
09 373 3866
Furniture Maytime
Pine dresser
Pine dresser
Yvonne Sanders
09 630 3904
Pine table
Pine table
Yvonne Sanders
09 630 3904
Rug Fables
09 309 4957

Alternative solution

introduce some contrast with this loo

Fran Wynne, Auckland colour consultant and interior designer suggests this for an alternative look...

A subdued relaxed feel

As this beach house was designed for an extended family, the palette could be kept subdued for a relaxed feel and could incorporate colours from the landscape. The space is large and airy, so the scheme could be anchored with a deep, rustic-looking floor tile with sandy-toned swirls. A versatile modular lounge suite, accented with bright scatter cushions in fun shapes and patterns, could be reconfigured to suit the gathering.

Accenting the chimney with Resene Mondo would highlight the warm colours of the flames, while the other walls could be painted in Resene Aspiring. An unobtrusive dining suite, with a light stainless steel frame and Victorian ash top, could be complemented with black chairs. A kitchen benchtop in Ivory Coast Silestone would draw together the various sandy shades of the floor tile and complement the front of the breakfast bar, which could be accented in Resene Craigieburn.

Floor tile
Independent Ceramics
09 527 4990
lamp Mid Century Design 09 303 3549
Dining suite
Bos Design
Dilana Rugs 03 366 5866
Swivel chair
Bos Design

words: Jordan Bell
pictures: Lucent*Media

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