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How this Waikato home was designed to be stylish and energy-efficient

After a decade-long planning process, this sustainably-minded couple finally built their dream family home amid the rolling hills of the Waikato

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Meet + Greet

Rachael and Kip Matterson, sons Seb, William and Nate, plus Winston the dog and Arty the cat.

After completing a traditional villa renovation in Auckland in 2001, Rachael and Kip Matterson moved south to the Waikato, where Kip grew up. While the perfect home eluded them for over a decade, the couple had time to work out what they wanted. “It needed to meet our needs throughout the various stages of our lives,” says Rachael. “We wanted a forever home.”

The design was inspired by piazzas in Rome and ancient caravanserai on the old Silk Road, lofty ideals for a slice of farmland that also needed to be merged with the Mattersons’ desire for an energy-efficient, eco-friendly home.


The design brief was fulfilled with a central courtyard, snug internal spaces and a central living space with large windows and doors on the north and south sides of the home. These large panes of glass would maximise sunshine hours, providing passive heating by warming the concrete floors, as well as allowing access to the outdoors. High clerestory windows and lower-level windows onto the courtyard provide ventilation.

“We realised that despite double glazing, a lot of heat would be lost through the glass in our living area,” says Rachael. “So it was important to maximise our glazing options to retain heat.”

ThermalHEART technology from Vantage Windows & Doors proved to be an easy choice.

“Window joinery was a big-ticket item,” says Rachael. “So it was important to lock in some of these key decisions early on. It’s proven to be robust, low maintenance, and it looks great.”

On reflection

The Mattersons couldn’t be happier with their new home and a recent celebration helped them realise how well it works for their way of life. “We recently hosted my mother’s 80th birthday with immediate family all staying and extended family joining us for a sit-down dinner in the living room,” says Rachael. “The house worked so wonderfully for all three generations. We have been lucky enough to build our dream home and we plan to be here for a very long time.”

Visit vantage.co.nz to see more of this home

Words by: Tina Stephen. Photography by: Simon Wilson.

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