Rural Simplicity


One key reason new housing has become 'unaffordable', is that houses have got bigger and bigger. In the post-war era of population growth and material shortages, new houses were limited by law to about 100 square metres. That generation of New Zealanders happily raised large families in those small houses. The median new build house is now over 250 square metres floor area!

Our client had a budget, but beyond that wanted to live simply and sustainably on his rural site. Together we set the goal of designing a house with three bedrooms and two bathrooms within 100 sq m area. A further 50 sq m was budgeted for a double garage/workshop.

The simple tramper’s hut was an ideal that informed the design.

To meet the challenge of a limited floor area, we questioned some things that might be seen as “must haves”. For example, instead of an internal access stair from the garage (that would take up as much space as a bedroom), there is a sheltered external stair. There is no entrance foyer, but the generous verandah adequately shelters the direct entrance to the living space.  

The plan is organised in two parallel wings, angled apart to create a bonus living/play space and deck. One wing contains kitchen, laundry and living space, the other has three bedrooms and bathroom.

The outdoor spaces were of equal importance to the indoors. Because the site is steeply sloping, the two generous decks provide the flat outdoor living space. On the north side, the deep verandah controls sun and allows use in varied weather. On the west side, a deck in the 'vee' of the plan aligns with a particular view, and catches the late sun.

The owner’s own photographs and objects collected from travelling, enliven the interior.

House in the new zealand bush, large covered veranda with views. New Zealand bush house, red corrugated iron cladding. Architect designed modern home site well in landscape.