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A holiday home on Rakino Island is the ultimate escape

Article by Home Magazine

Malcolm Walker’s design for this holiday home picks up on the architectural language of Vernon Brown’s work from the 1930s to the 1950s

Q&A with architect Malcolm Walker of Malcom Walker Architects

People talk about the importance of paring back holiday homes. How did you do it here?
Tony Watkins once said a holiday house celebrates what you’ve got; a bach celebrates what you don’t need. Rakino is an island of basics – that’s why you go there. It’s a very satisfying thing to strip life back. I admire people who can do that. Happy to help! You don’t need much as shelter, but it’s important to do it carefully and well. You can’t fudge it. Careful thought is the key to affordable and simple housing.

What made you refer to Vernon Brown’s black-and-white homes from the 30s to the 50s in these designs?
The job we did next door used a similar approach. It seemed to suit something simple, almost nostalgic but with a twist.

You collaborated with Milton, who built the home. How important is an empathetic builder?
Compatibility might be a better word. We’re all in it together (including the owner) so if you don’t get on or agree, you’re all wasting each other’s time. It’s hard work being a builder, it’s hard work being an architect (and it’s not easy being the owner) but when you have understanding between everyone there’s nothing more satisfying.

Photos by: Duncan Innes. Production by: Janice Kumar-Ward.

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