A small Hawke's Bay house has made a big splash as it is announced the best designed bach in New Zealand.
First Light House at Waimarama won the Best Designed Bach Award at the 2019 Bookabach Bach of the Year Awards.
The house's owner, Les Holland, is over the moon about the win.
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"I'm stoked. It's super pleasing to see that the house and its position in one of my favourite places in NZ has been recognised.
"We work hard to keep the house in its best shape and have tried not to turn the spot into anything beyond the basic comforts the house affords and the incredible location on the hill."
This much awarded eco home, designed and built by University of Victoria architectural students, went on display in Wellington, with the same students going on to run their own business First Light Studio.
It was then shipped to Washington DC in 2012 to compete in the international Solar Decathlon Competition where it came first in engineering, second for architecture and third overall.
Now this solar home of the future has been permanently sited on Lightning Ridge overlooking the white sands of Waimarama Beach, a 20-minute scenic drive from Havelock North in Hawke's Bay, where Holland purchased it in 2014.
The house has amazing indoor-outdoor flow with more than 100m of decks overlooking the beautiful surf beach.
Along with sweeping views down to Cape Kidnappers and out to sea to Bare Island, the location is perfect for such a special house.
This one-bedroom, two-bathroom bach isn't overly big in size but Holland says that's what she likes about the place.
"I love that it is small, essentially one big family room," she said.
"So a visit to the beach takes us back to basics, board games and conversations, long since lost in our regular home."
First Light House bach is booked around 120 nights a year, but it comes at a bit of a cost - on average $370 a night.
The Waimarama bach wasn't the only Hawke's Bay house recognised, with Chambourcin Cottage winning bronze in the same category.
The small one-bedroom, one-bathroom Haumoana based house was designed and built by Te Awanga architect Steve McGavock. Its vaulted ceilings and native timber features throughout were inspired by renowned New Zealand architect John Scott.
Set in its very own boutique vineyard, the cottage sits atop a rise offering views over the vineyard, Heretaunga Plains, and the Kaweka and Huiarau ranges beyond.