Inside a low-maintenance inner-city home designed to capture the light

An architect designed this sun-drenched home to perfectly suit a couple with plans of retiring
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When architect Richard Furze was approached by a design-conscious husband and wife for his professional opinion on a site in Ōmokoroa in the Bay of Plenty, his immediate response was, “Yeah, this is great.” Although it was a reasonably compact site it wasn’t a tight parcel of land you come to expect with inner-city living, it had an established hedge and a nice feel to it.

Mike and Pauline, who had run a high-end lighting business in Auckland’s eastern suburbs, wanted a home that wasn’t huge, good for entertaining, was low stress, warm and cool, and because they were retiring, had a modest budget. It also had to have a decent garage for homeowner Mike’s toys, his ute, and a workshop to tinker in.

Richard was thrilled. “They’re really awesome people with great taste,” says the owner of Furze Architecture & Design. “They have real vision.”

The design was kept simple and clean – a rectangular form with high, pitched gable ceilings in the main living space, with lean-tos off each side, plentiful use of Vantage windows and sliding doors and a burnt larch exterior.

Richard made savings on the three-bedroom, single-storey home’s clean structure and simple form, as it saves on the amount of flashings and corners. “The simpler you can design things, the cleaner and more cost efficient it is – bang for buck, really,” he says.

That meant the couple could invest in high-performance windows, doors and burnt larch cladding. Richard has specified Vantage Windows & Doors for some time.

“The Metro Series in Matt Black is nice and flat, and looks awesome with the exterior of burnt larch.” Because Pauline and Mike are discerning clients, Richard was all for the use of shou sugi ban – charred wood cladding.

Shou sugi ban is a traditional Japanese technique of charring about 2mm of the surface of the timber to give it a unique rustic texture. This makes it easier to maintain than cedar, which often has to be washed and oiled every few years. It may seem counter-intuitive to build from singed wood but it has a good fire rating, because as it chars, it creates its own protection.

The homeowners are thrilled with not only the look of their new home, but also the performance, and are enjoying hosting friends and family in it.

See more of this home at

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