Caspers House is sitting on Paku Hill which is an old volcano at the edge of Tairua, which is a small township at the base of the Coromandel. It’s very beachy, very relaxed. It’s a nice place to be with lots of surf beaches and estuaries and stuff for the kids to swim in, which is one of the reasons we came to this location in the first place. Our relationship with Glamuzina Architects started in 2013 where we got them to design a house for us in Westmere. We had seen their work and we really liked their style and the fact that they were kind of interesting and different and willing to kind of maybe look at things from a slightly different perspective.
The orientation of the project is to the north west where the view is down to the beach and out towards Tairua township. What we have here now is a building that has a large window aperture out to the view but that is sort of obfuscated by objects in the way like as you kind of come through the space it opens up to this kind of large amount of light and view.
I think the way the space kind of contracts and expands kind of helps guide you through it a little bit as well, that kind of keeps the momentum and keeps you moving forward and then it’s kind of like the prize at the end, you know. You walk through and then there’s like the big picture window at the end with the view of the surf. As an interior designer, I spend a lot of time designing other people’s houses, which is awesome because you get to kind of help them create a space that they want to be in that’s specifically for them, but this obviously being my own home was quite different.
Generally there is like a level of conservativeness in New Zealand and in New Zealand interiors so I kind of use my own projects as an opportunity to really see what happens when you do something a little bit differently. The colour of the walls in the darkness kind of dulls your senses a little bit so it kind of feels like you walk into like a comfy cave rather than a bright white stark environment, which is kind of a little bit jarring. It’s a bit of a contradiction I think; it’s challenging on the outside but I think it’s enveloping and calming on the inside. We really wanted to look at this idea of changing light through the space so there wasn’t always just about this one point, there was also these other slits of light that came in both horizontally down the site and also vertically through the roof. When we originally did the plan for the site, it was really evident pretty quickly that we needed to look at this idea of a split level, but we wanted to find opportunities within that that could create spaces so that split level allows for other spaces to be hung within it; connected but slightly disconnected.
While this house does have an element of open plan living, I think the fact that the kitchen is on a separate level to the lounge means that you can kind of escape from people. Also the fact that there is the mezzanine upstairs means that that’s yet another living space and the bunk room, which is also on multiple levels means that people can kind of inhabit the same space but they don’t have to be in each other’s pockets. One of the things about this house is that across the day it changes it’s like a chameleon you know and that’s why we kind of call it Caspers House, because it’s kind of like kind of ghostly in nature.
We wanted to create this building that had a certain amount of height, that kind of added certain amount of scale to the front. The kind of triangulation of the roof also kind of came from, you know, sessions around other types of forms like A-frames.
This material that we used is kind of corrugated, so it has this kind of idea of the shed and this kind of really simple basic New Zealand material but then it’s fibreglass and when you get up close to it, it has this kind of beautiful netting and you know, there’s different opportunities around exposing structure or enclosing that structure and then that whole envelope becomes the roof; it becomes everything. You know, so you get the sort of singular element from the landscape. My favourite part of the house is the bunk room. We wanted to create something that people could live in and love but didn’t take itself too seriously and was a cozy little respite from sort of everyday life and I think that that is the perfect example of it.
The mezzanine is kind of like, one of my favourite spaces.
You get out there and you’re kind of sitting as high as you can in the space; sort of precarious you know, which is you know, it probably runs back to this idea of we sit on the precarious volcano in the Coromandel perhaps. I feel very fortunate that for this particular project we worked with teams of people that we had worked with previously because without them, being so willing to kind of walk the path with us, we would have never ever have got here. Building on a volcano is challenging to be sure, but of course, when you are up so high the views you get are just so exceptional so at the end once you’ve completed it, it’s all worth it.