This rural Timaru new-build oozes country cool
A young architect put his skills to the test to design and build his family’s dream home in rural Timaru. The results speak for themselves…
Who lives here?
Kate Perry (quotation administrator), Josh Newlove (director/architectural designer of Newlove Browning Architects), Leah, 6, Ella, 5, and Oliver, 1
It definitely wasn’t love at first sight for Kate Perry when she saw the rural Timaru section her partner, architectural designer Josh Newlove, wanted to build a house on. “It was so steep we could barely get the car up the path,” recalls Kate. “I told Josh I didn’t even want to get out of the car.”
The couple, who met while studying in Dunedin, had recently completed a major renovation of their first home, a 1950s cottage in Timaru. But they were expecting their second child and Josh, who was born on the West Coast, wanted to ensure his kids had a country childhood.
Fast-forward a year and the same 10-acre section was still for sale. Realising it was half the price of land in town, Kate relented and Josh lost no time in channelling the architectural skills he uses to create other people’s dream homes into designing his own.
Tips for designing your own home
Words by: Sharon Stephenson. Photography by: Kate Claridge.
The family’s wishlist was clear: four bedrooms, concrete floors with underfloor heating, low maintenance and as sustainable as possible.
Josh had some trouble convincing the joiner to use bright yellow. “She thought we were mad!”
The 10-seater dining table came from Trade Me, as did the tin-panelled sideboard behind it.
One of Kate’s non-negotiables was a small scullery (tucked behind the kitchen), which allows her to keep clutter to a minimum.
The Stendig calendar is a favourite in this household and both Kate and Josh love the strong visual impact it makes in their home’s entrance.
Josh designed the house so that all the living spaces are in the centre, with the children’s wing to the east and the main bedroom forming an adult retreat on the western side of the property.
Josh, who was born on the West Coast, wanted to ensure his kids had a country childhood.
Thanks to the fire and underfloor heating, the house is so warm that the louvre windows are often open, even on the coldest winter’s day!
The original 1960s Vono furniture in the lounge (aka the “Whisky Room”) was a Trade Me find from Christchurch and fits this space perfectly.
A striking feature is the wall of old green-painted sarking in the open-plan kitchen and living area, from a building that came down in the Canterbury earthquakes.
Kate has kept the four bedrooms neutral, although she’s been able to indulge her love of styling by repurposing the secondhand bedside cabinets.
Daughters Leah and Ella inherited their parents’ love for design and had considerable input into the decoration of their rooms.
The clever placement of windows means the rolling countryside is visible no matter where in the house you are.
“We love that our children can spend so much time outdoors. They love walking through the paddock to visit friends,” says Josh.
The couple chose cage shelves to keep the space as streamlined and clutter-free as possible. Dark linen matches the adjacent stone bath.
Josh designed the ensuite basin around a solid piece of jarrah reclaimed from a Christchurch demolition.
In the interests of a seamless look, the couple repeated the same grey tiles in the main bathroom and master ensuite.
“It was vital that the house, and the way we lived, related to the environment,” says Josh.
The family wanted the house to be as sustainable as possible, using materials such as cedar cladding and plywood, and installing solar panels and a special system to capture rainwater.
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