Tim Heath designs a compact home and painting studio perched above Otago Harbour
Q&A with Tim Heath from Architectural Ecology
What were you asked to design here?
They wanted a small house on a minimal budget of about $400,000. We had to work very hard to achieve it. They had this cracker site with amazing views. They were quite adamant that the kitchen and dining areas should be central to the way they live. They both love art and painting and doing those good things, as well as cooking and entertaining their friends. So you’re almost back into what you’d normally do in a bach, whether you’re gathering around a fire outside or sitting around a table. It’s that communal coming together.
You also had views in one direction and sun in the other.
The prime view in my opinion is not that which looks out towards the heads, but looks out towards the harbour cone and Quarantine Island, which has so much bio-cultural and social history. We placed all the utility zones along the south wall of the house and placed a viewing bay in the middle. We opened up the house on the north as much as we could. The kitchen bench stayed in the warm place on the north side. You get special views from both the bathrooms and the showers. The people in the boats going by get a bit of a surprise.
What made you decide to place the bedroom in the sunniest part of the house?
They don’t see the bedrooms as secluded spaces. They like to sit in the bedroom and have a cup of coffee in the morning and use it as a living space. They’re quite fluid.
I came away feeling pretty satisfied that they got a good house for the money they paid.
Words by: Jeremy Hansen. Photography by: Simon Devitt.