I wanted a beautiful house made of simple materials that could cope with the conditions. Up here, life’s about enjoying the environment but the weather dictates proceedings. On good days, we’re out skiing or horse-riding and on bad ones, well, you need an especially good house to be in.
Rob Brown of Casey Brown Architecture and I sketched out some initial designs and, surprisingly, the final result is pretty similar. It was always going to be a split level — a refinement of an obvious solution for the site. Rob had previously designed the nearby shed and stables and the house fits in perfectly with them. All three are finished in natural timber, concrete, and steel.
We’ve got views of the mountain range with sunlight in winter and the right shading in summer. There’s direct access from the garage to the interior which is helpful when it’s sleeting or worse.
The central slab between the floors is heated by a wood-fired boiler in the stable building and there’s a large open fire in the middle of the living room with plenty of firewood available on the property.
Fresh produce can be scarce so we included a large air-conditioned pantry, several fridges, and a freezer as well as a section for the wine collection.
Project Architect Caroline Kite, did a great job. She was able to convince me to include some things that might not have been my first choice, like the skylights and the Vola tapware. I’m glad she did.
Site manager, Steve O’Ryan, who I’ve been collaborating with since 1980, took control of the build. The central stairs were done by Scott Waller. Steve, Scott, and the whole team did their usual excellent work. Someone asked me about the biggest challenges of the project but I really can’t think of any. There are no challenges if you know what to do.
It’s satisfying to have the main house finished but there will be more to come, maybe some new horse shelters. For now, I’m a very happy client.