Distinctive design and brilliant build deliver an unreal residence
A fusion of contemporary spaces, materials and aesthetics all add to the unique persona of a Redcliffs home nearing construction. This monolithic home spread over seven levels (the lowest sitting below the high tide line) is alluringly deceiving from the exterior. Its size and multitude of surprises are well hidden from the street yet upon entering the house, it wraps itself around you, lures you to discover the many hinted at features.
Glass on all sides opens up multiple vistas, enticing you to explore further. Soaring up to levels above, raw aggregate tilt panels of massive proportion lead you from the outside in, helping to anchor the various, intertwined elements of this impressive build.
The project, which has spanned close on three years, is a culmination of skill and expertise from both Marcus Stufkens of Stufkens Architecture and the construction team headed by Simon Stewart of Stewart Builders.
Both companies are well versed in delivering high-end residential projects and the $4 million plus build is one of several the two have collaborated on.
The 500 square metres of total bespoke architecture, building and materials invokes a sense of space, sophistication; yet the entire design is still grounded and sympathetic with it surroundings. Taking up a large portion of the 811 square metre waterfront section this home brings together the latest in technology and fuses it with a mix of non-traditional materials.
The flow lines on the floor plate throughout the building are pointed at Shag Rock. From many rooms this distinct landscape feature is prominent through the massive panes of glass which dominate many sides of the building.
“There is a continuous, flowing harmony about the home and while it looks complicated from the outside, upon entering the house it all comes together and works. You instantly know where it is you want and need to go,” says Stufkens.
While very much open plan, the five bedrooms, five bathroom, four living room home, plus the eight outdoor decks and balconies, flow seamlessly throughout the multilevel home, yet the clever design creates private nooks and unexpected spaces – time-out zones. Each and every room has a stunning perspective – be it to Shag Rock, across the estuary and out to sea, to the Port hills or directly up the road into the heart of Redcliffs.
Three sides of the home wrap around an in-ground heated swimming pool and spa, offering protection from the prevailing winds, while offering the utmost in privacy. Another indoor spa pool and bathroom, visible through large glass doors from the pool area, provide a window to a stunningly lit display garage for one of the owner’s prized motor vehicles.
Interior design features abound and a fusion of materials and styles again adds another edge to the home. The downstairs powder room features a pure cowhide feature wall, complete with complementary mood lighting. Each bathroom has a completely customised stone vanity designed to accentuate the individuality of each room. Custom designed Ventech extraction systems to eliminate condensation are installed in each bathroom. The clean, minimalist and unobtrusive looks do not deter from the superior efficiency of the custom designed units. Showers feature full glass fronts, or windows offering various vistas.
Repetition of material, both inside and outside of the home ties the impressive elements together.
Polished concrete floors, the Timaru blue stone and black oxide tilt slab panels not only provide visual lines weaving between the rooms and levels, they form the structural frame for towering windows and doors.
Adding to the feel is cladding of an exterior feature wall flanking the swimming pool and rock filled gabion baskets hang suspended up the walls and over windows.
Other exterior cladding brings in the warmth of cedar shiplap and Loxo Cladding ACC system, which not only look stunning, but also have prominent thermal and acoustic properties.
The natural timber is again prominent in the interior with American oak being used in floor detailing and wall paneling, while walnut veneer is used in combination with natural stone in the kitchen.
The kitchen stands majestically at the heart of the home, with impressive views across the estuary, back to the water feature in the entrance hall and across the main living area. Off to one side, a handful of stairs lead you down to the lounge, whilst on the waterfront side another small set of steps lead you up to the elevated open plan living area. One of two floating staircases leads you up to the master suite while an overhead glass bridge connect an upstairs mezzanine floor with one of the numerous outdoor decks.
The kitchen itself has large sliding panels allowing the butlers pantry to be opened up, then later closed off, as and when required. “This modulated design allows you to link the kitchen with the surrounding rooms or close parts of it off when you are entertaining,” Stufkens explains.
The lounge features a custom built, three metre long gas fire with a continuous flame. This same room also features a temperature controlled wine cellar which will be hidden by a silk curtain. The lighting within the cellar space will highlight the silhouettes within this cleverly used part of the room.
Throughout the building, the lighting has been designed to add to the incredible accents, ambiance and reflect moods. “The lighting is all about creating particular atmospheres. There are programmed mood swings in the lights to suit the time of day or night and the style of entertaining within the house.”
Running the impressive array of features throughout the building is the latest in technology. From the automated blinds and louvers throughout, to security, heating, audio systems to the automatic pool cover and the myriad of lighting – all is computer controlled from a main operations room, also opening off the kitchen, or remotely as required.
Add in the double garage, floating decks, canter-levered glass and there is not one room untouched by some out-of-the-box detail. “Every aspect of the design and build has been well thought out, thoroughly researched and then meticulously constructed.”
The very first challenge was applying a highly technical system to the foundations. It was a six month project to raise the site the 1200mm required by council, and then install the foundation system. And with over 29 tilt slab panels, each entirely different, over 200 steel beams/columns and then countless panes of glass, some craned in, others requiring 15 men to place; the weight of the structure is enormous. The upper floors are all constructed in concrete and steel. “The house effectively floats on a heavily reinforced concrete raft,” explains Stewart.
Two floating staircases, each with the individual treads weighing 980 kilograms, again highlight the scale of the project.
The gabion baskets which create such a stunning feature have never, to the knowledge of the team, been used as a cladding on a house in this way. “The baskets were individually custom built and then we had to place every stone in them by hand.” This is one of the many labour intensive aspects to the job the Stewart Builders team has undertaken. Placing the two kilometres of cedar cladding, was yet another task of mammoth proportions.
All this visible detail is impressive on a massive scale, yet much of the intricacies and magic of this home lie in the smaller, often unseen, details. For Simon Stewart and his team, the job has been massive.
“Quality has always been the main focus. It is time consuming and there are often no tolerances but quality is what has been delivered.
“There is nothing about this house which is standard. It is all unique and many of the features are one off,” Stewart says.
However, with him at the helm his highly skilled team has approached each and every challenge with a positive and pragmatic attitude and the craftsmanship is evident throughout. Not a nail is out of line on any of the bamboo decks and exposed bolts in the visible steel beams bordering the mezzanine floor all sit at the exact same position. While these details may seem small, each adds to the level of sophistication and speaks volumes of the quality of the entire project.
Full height doors are effortlessly pulled into hidden recessed spaces and held in place by magnetic catches. Gargantuan sliding glass panels, which at first are so well ensconced within walls, slide out to divide or close off areas and allow for more economical heating.
Stewart was selected to deliver this project as he made the commitment to personally lead the construction team and manage the entire process. “This project has involved us, the architect and the client working really closely together.”
The teamwork has also extended to the 200 plus sub contractors, all who have added to the immense levels of skill and expertise required to deliver each aspect of the tricky build.
While this build has been the most detailed Stewart Builders has been involved in, the 10 year old Christchurch company has worked on larger scale projects. From top end residential to commercial and home renovations, the small but select team has never had the need to advertise. They are in the enviable position where word of mouth referrals keeps the order book full.
For Stufkens Architecture, homes of this calibre occupy around half the company’s time, with commercial projects forming the other half. With offices in Christchurch and Tauranga, the multi-disciplined practice has the experience and expertise in a wide range of projects and takes great pride in consistently delivering creative architecture and interior design solutions.
“Our approach is to work collaboratively and to challenge and inspire each other to find the best possible outcomes on each project.
“At Stufkens, we pride ourselves on the creation of innovative and functional design solutions that tell your story and meet your budget. We strive for planning clarity, logic, functionality and the element of surprise. We have built a reputation as an industry leader by providing clients with both high quality design and outstanding personal service – evidenced by our numerous awards and high percentage of repeat business,” Stufkens says.
“Our ambition is to meet or exceed your expectations by listening to your stories, recognising what is important to you, researching and drawing inspiration from the landscape, its forms, textures and light qualities.”
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