Habitus House of the Year 2018 – Hahei House

Photography by Simon Devitt

Habitus Magazine marks its 10 year anniversary this year and are celebrating with the launch of an annual awards programme to recognise and celebrate the most outstanding examples of residential architecture in the Indo-Pacific region.

The inaugural Habitus House of the Year (2018) presents 25 homes that are exemplary embodiments of how the region lives through design and includes five New Zealand homes amongst the honours.

I’m going to be sharing a few of my favourites from the New Zealand contingent, kicking off with this sunbathing beauty, Hahei House by Studio 2 Architects.

These windows slide right back, completely opening the home to the ocean like the prow of a ship
(Also, WOW suspended fireplace)

Simplicity and super clean lines in the kitchen belie a very (very) cleverly planned, super-functional space designed to host large groups, with integrated appliances and plenty o’ practicality (side-by-side ovens, for example)

The ‘night lounge’ opens out to a sheltered courtyard with massive fireplace, and behind this outdoor room is a second courtyard with a hot tub and garden. 

Polished concrete floors have the look of dappled sand, don’t you think?
(The print here is by NZ fine art photographer Kate van der Drift)

Using the American Oak everywhere brings a simplicity and substance, but I love how they’ve changed up its form in some places (like here, acting as stair balusters) to bring texture and interest.

The landscaping effectively melds the site right into the dunes – so pretty

Sliding cedar shutters stack away, allowing the house to respond to different weather and the need for privacy 

Glass Balustrades let the views stretch before you, unimpeded 

Photography by Simon Devitt

The first thing that strikes me about this house is how low-key its presence on the beachfront is. Looking up from the sand, you really don’t have a clue of the building’s true size – it has been designed in deference to the dunes, which disguise both its two-storey height and its depth. And while its angular form offers stunning contrast with the organic curves of the sand dunes, the exterior materials chosen pull back and soften that contrast. The grey-stained cedar, sandstone and light grey roofing all share a sort of sun-bleached, salt-weathered tone – like the house is a beautifully silvered piece of driftwood.

What I love most about this home is the interior palette. All those sand tones and natural textures deliver a very muted aesthetic that refuses to compete with those views, allowing your eyes to soften and your gaze to be drawn outward to the ocean.  It’s a very restful design; no visual noise. The solid American Oak  – on floors, walls, ceilings and bespoke joinery – brings real warmth, and gives the feel of the interior of a boat or cabin. (Perhaps, too, its also a small nod to the home that sat here first, a classic timber-lined Lockwood). Imagine visiting here during a wild winter storm… laying in that honeyed lounge, the suspended fire roaring, the sea and sky raging grey outside…

The space planning is very clever here. Paul Clarke and his Studio 2 team have achieved something greater than the sum of its parts, creating different wings and zones for different occasions and different times of day. So even with the house happily heaving with visiting friends and family, there’s still quiet spaces to retreat and relax. So that it’s big enough for a crowd, but intimate enough for two on a weekend escape.

Pretty easy to see why this home was selected as a Habitus House of the Year 2018.
Like to vote for it to win People’s Choice? Do it for your country! Go to habitusliving.com/houseoftheyear
(Actually, just do it because this home is amazing – and I’ll be bringing you a couple of other amazing New Zealand contenders in the coming weeks, too…)




Photography by Ben Hosking

I’ve recently discovered Perth architects Whispering Smith and fallen in love with their work. They describe themselves as champions for millennial housing, sustainable architecture, local craft and friendly minimalist architecture – and this home above is a great example of all of that. It’s the first of three planned carbon-neutral dwellings made from high-recycled content concrete panels and whitewashed recycled brick, and is a 3 storey mini tower, with a garage underneath and a loft on top. Minimal land, minimal house, minimal life.

And here’s another Whispering Smith projects I want to up sticks and move into: Cortes Kiln, an Air BnB set on one of Australia’s oldest walnut farms. It’s a modern, minimalist addition to an historic cottage.

LOVE the white polycarbonate cladding – genius move.

Amazing concrete bath set in an internal courtyard

And this (below) is Keanu Breeze, a 20-square-metre micro apartment in the centre of Fremantle…

Oh my god, this stair detail. I’ll start the bidding at Yaaaaass.

Get flooring samples (and more) sent to you in Flooring Xtra’s new Sample Box



A corner of the summer house of interior stylist Minna Jones. I’m jealous, Minna.

Blonde timber against a white backdrop is timeless and will always just work. Thanks for coming to my TED talk.

I totally approve of all of this.

The bathrooms at Warrior One yoga studio, by GOLDEN. Photography Sharyn Cairns.

Sarah Sherman Samuel has been redecorating Mandy Moore’s home (the Mandy Moore), and this is the recently revealed bathroom. I especially love the sage rectangular tiles, and the fact they’ve been laid vertically (proper term – vertical stack bond) with the gold-toned tapware. The floor is poured terrazzo with a custom brass inlay that Sarah designed herself – what do we think of that?

Another bathroom in Mandy Moore’s crib. (Hey, 1997 MTV).

How good are these vintage dining chairs? The woodblock prints (stamped by hand with carved wooden blocks) – which you’ve no doubt been seeing around lots lately, as I have – are by Block Shop.

A Brooklyn loft that, back in the 1800’s, was a schoolhouse. HELLO ORIGINAL ARCHED DOORWAYS AND TRANSOMS. See much more of this home here.

This home tho!

(One of my all-time favourite kitchen benchtops, from the same home.)

For my colour maximalists and lovers of retro… this inspiring home in Melbourne by Brave New Eco.
Go see the full home tour here – it’s a goodie!

1  /  2  /  3  /  4  /  5  /  6  /  7  /  8  /  9  /  10  /  11  –  13


Get flooring samples (and more) sent to you in Flooring Xtra’s new Sample Box


Home, Style

Styling Gem Adams, Photography Wendy Fenwick 

The latest Homestyle magazine is on shelves this week (Oct-Nov issue) and she’s a beauty. This month is a Kitchen & Bathroom special, so there’s some seriously impressive styled features (ahem – exhibits A and B above, your honour), as well as imagery from inspiring international bathrooms and kitchens, paired with locally-available products to help you re-create the look.

The loveliest colour palette for this home by the sea.

ok wow wow wow

Photography by Brooke Lean & Gina Fabish

The Homestyle home tours are always A Grade and this issue is no exception – there’s a teeny weeny Wellington cottage, the home of Kip & Co co-founder Alex McCabe, a Mt Eden villa with a super soothing but sophistication renovation, and more.

Above are just a few of the pics from the Taranaki home of Interior Designer Thandi Tipene. OK, I’m calling it… this maybe the most stylish New Zealand home I’ve seen this year. Don’t @ me. I will not be taking questions at this time.

© The New