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This barn-style house in Wanaka has nailed semi-rural living

This barn-style house in Wanaka is designed to foster golden childhood memories with its cosy nooks, easy flow and semi-rural vibe.

A site close to town with a rural aspect was too good to pass up for Anna Findlay, a Wanaka real estate agent for Ray White and mum of Estelle and Jake. “I had sold this whole block and I knew the owners wanted to subdivide eventually so I asked if I could carve off a piece and secure it. We are close enough to town that Estelle can bike alone to school, but it still feels rural. I come from a rural background and it’s nice to have that space around me,” she says.


Anna used Pinterest to help define the type of house she wanted. She presented a board of images to architect Barry Condon of Condon Scott Architects – and when she looks back now, much of that is echoed in the house design. “I wanted a Scandi barn look with four bedrooms, with one downstairs for parents and guests, and a separate TV room. I wanted to use a lot of wood. Barry captured my vision almost immediately with the concept drawings. There weren’t a lot of changes from there on.”


The house is clad in pale cedar with slatted timber sliders that can be moved along with the sun, creating beautiful light effects and also preventing the house from overheating in the summer. Entry to the home is via a light-filled double-height atrium, with the upper level landing acting like a mezzanine.

A feature wall created from recycled bricks provides a reference to the barn look in the kitchen and dining area. This was built by Anna’s brother and painted using an old hearth brush to create an aged texture. The kitchen design was based around an image seen in an architecture magazine, with metal casing used for upper wall shelving and the island legs, making the island appear like a long table.

Personal touches

Family movie time is a special occasion for the family and the TV room provides the perfect spot to cosy up and enjoy it, with darkly painted walls, velvety curtains and Wilson & Dorsett sheepskin Shaggy Bean Bags. Upstairs, the bedrooms are housed under the sloped roof with some beautifully framed views of the grounds. Anna’s room features an oversized walk-in wardrobe, important for housing the many dresses from her previous life as the owner of a fashion boutique.

Fun-filled memories

Anna’s favourite place to relax is the living room with its high ceilings and comfortable mix of old and new furnishings. This space spills onto decking and an expansive lawn, with a tennis court that doubles as a scooter and bike riding area for Estelle and Jake.

“I wanted a home that the kids would be able to create childhood memories in,” says Anna. “That was a big part of my vision: this big lawn we would run around and play on, and a house where we could laugh and have fun.”


Words by: Camille Khouri Photography by: Marina Mathews

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