Interiors: Maximising the sun and view

By Leanne Moore

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With their fifth house project, a South Island couple knew what they were looking for.

The Crows' house has stack-bond feature walls throughout, which are good for heat retention. Photo / Your Home & Garden
The Crows' house has stack-bond feature walls throughout, which are good for heat retention. Photo / Your Home & Garden

Having built five homes for their family, Rachelle and Brendon Crow reckon they make a pretty good team.

Brendon takes care of the outside, then they both tackle the floorplan before Rachelle does the interiors.

A four-bedroom, three-bathroom house set in a valley between Arrowtown an Queenstown is their latest effort. Stunning scenery is provided by the Remarkables on one side and Coronet Peak on the other.

The Crows bought their 2500sq m section in Walnut Grove four-and-a-half years ago.

"We were attracted by the flat section and the fact it got all-day sun," says Rachelle. "Until then we'd always lived on sloping sections, so the kids couldn't get on their bikes. We decided it was important to have something that suited them."

The house is made of concrete block and has stack-bond block feature walls throughout. Glass is used extensively to take advantage of the scenery and sun.

"We get the cold here but we also get amazing sun, so I wanted lots of windows," says Rachelle. "They let the heat in; the blocks keep it in and expel it in the evenings."

Wide eaves stop the sun from hitting the concrete floors in summer. Where they are not exposed, the blocks are skimmed with plaster inside and painted. The floors are heated and in the kitchen, bathrooms, toilet and laundry they are tiled.

The kitchen has a walk-in pantry hidden behind the stove.

"With three children [Mitchell, 10, Campbell, 9, and Brooklyn, 6] and a busy lifestyle I wanted the kitchen to be clear of clutter," says Rachelle.

"When we're entertaining, I can just hide the mess away."

From the kitchen/dining area there's a step down to the lounge. "I didn't care about having a formal lounge because we've got a young family," says Rachelle. "But by stepping down to this room, it's a little bit separated. That's also why we put the shelving units there - they act as a divider. I designed them and Brendon built them."

The focal point is the fireplace, which backs on to an outdoor fire. Brendon made a feature of the chimney and used stack-bond blocks with black pointing.

Wallpaper is a feature of the master bedroom, which has a window into the en suite.

"I like how you can stand in the bedroom and look into the bathroom," says Rachelle.

Style tips

Picture perfect: Collecting clippings from magazines is a great starting point. "After a while you start to see your style emerging. It might be that you like the country look, or the modern look," says Rachelle.

Bit by bit: "Decide room by room what's important to you," she says." We wanted north-facing rooms of decent sizes as we knew the kids would spend a fair amount of times in them."

Easy does it: Take your time deciding what you want to do. "Your first thoughts might not be practical or might not fit into your actual plan."

* Leanne Moore is the editor of Your Home & Garden. For the full story on this house see the latest issue of the magazine.

- NZ Herald

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