A young couple left life on deck in the Med and got on board with building their future in Kerikeri
Meet & greet
Amanda Cooper, (photographer), Ben Gavin-Young (landscaper), and Isabella, two.
Ben Gavin-Young and Amanda Cooper say their Scandinavian-inspired house in Kerikeri is “the house that Pinterest and YouTube built”.
When the couple decided to build their first home, there was a logistical problem. They needed images to show their New Zealand-based architect, but were in the Mediterranean working on super yachts during the planning stage. Amanda was pregnant and they knew they wanted to come home and settle on Ben’s family land. “We decided to build rather than buy so that we’d have a place of our own and it had to be something that suited our needs.”
The couple had their heart set on a minimalist modern aesthetic for their four-bedroom, two-storey home. With the help of architect Dasha Tapa from DLM Architects and by using Stria Cladding by James Hardie they were able to achieve a framed open-plan home with a double-vaulted macrocarpa ceiling.
As well as being able to practise yoga on the mezzanine loft space, one of the things Amanda loves most about the house is the high vaulted ceilings and two-storey high windows.
“We wanted to create a gallery feel with as much wall space as possible to display art on,” says Ben.
They also knew they wanted great indoor/outdoor flow and achieved this with large bi-fold doors and generous glazing, as well as an open fireplace for everyone to gather around.
“We spent three weeks alone getting the fireplace to look right before the plans were submitted,” says Ben.
Ben and Amanda opted to go with Stria Cladding by James Hardie for its cost effectiveness, modern monolithic appearance and, being a cement-based product, it is more stable when painted black compared to other materials. Timber indents in the recesses were used to bring warmth to the palette.
In contrast to the black exterior the feature white chimney, which can be achieved using EasyLap Panel by James Hardie, was based off a Scandinavian home the couple pinned on Pinterest.
The light, bright interior is a lovely contrast to the dramatic black exterior. Those large windows that flood the interior with natural light also connect the inside to the green rollings Northland hills outside. The bay window is a favourite place to sit and contemplate the environment. “The long bench seat bay is a feature we couldn’t leave out – we now sit there nearly every evening,” says Amanda.
For added warmth they used natural polished concrete on the floor, which also grounded the house to the site. The concrete extends to the solid kitchen island made by Ben and has become a social point for family and visitors to gather.
Eventually, they hope to build a pergola for the back deck as well as a pool in the next few years. Right now, a shed is in the works.
But it is the land that holds so much potential for them and they are thoroughly enjoying working on their garden and learning to grow their own food. In fact, the main reason Ben is working in landscaping now is to gain knowledge to transform their outdoor area.
“I can’t wait to make some art out there,” says Ben.
Click here, or on the image below, to download a Builders worksheet
For more information visit: www.jameshardie.co.nz
Photography by: Simon Wilson