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Here’s how pod design helped this home maximise family-friendly living

A refined architectural vision for a bare Bay of Plenty section has resulted in an uncomplicated home with views from every angle

Meet and greet

Sally Lines, late 40s, and Andy Lines, early 50s, (owners of Urban Lounge Interiors), Georgia, 22 (now living independently), Mack, 18 (student), plus Mavis the black Labrador and a handful of goats and lambs.

Here’s how pod design helped this home maximise family-friendly living

Back in 2003, Andy and Sally Lines bought a 6.4-hectare gorse-covered block of land up high in the Pahoia hills, just north of Tauranga. It took them a while to live on their land, with a house built only three and a half years ago, but it was worth the wait – this concise yet spacious home is ideally situated to take advantage of glorious views across rolling countryside, bush, and water beyond. White Island, Mayor Island, Bowentown, Waihi Beach and the Kaimai Ranges frame the vista.

The family says it’s easy to be mesmerised by that view. Andy, a keen hunter, finds the rolling green outlook appealing, too. He says he now has an ideal vantage point, although an increasing number of critters are off limits – the quail families, the cock pheasant and a soaring white hawk have become favourites of the family.

When the Lines family bought their property, it included a sheep shed, complete with dirt floor and dipping pen, Sally tells.

“We put a deck on, hired a Portaloo, hoisted the hammocks and then camped out of that shed over a few Christmases and had lots of fun,” she says.

The property includes a stream, as well as glow worms, a majestic copse of gums, bush and punga galore. Following extensive gorse-clearing endeavours, an orchard of 200 lime trees was also planted.

The house

By the time Sally and Andy finally committed to pushing play on the house project, their architectural vision had been through several iterations, with three sets of house plans drawn up over a period of 13 years.

“Each time, it got scaled down,” Andy says. “By the time we got to the final plan, we had created something fit for the view and lifestyle. Our plan for our architect – Idea Architecture – was for view maximisation, open-plan living, plenty of outdoor flow and a pod design. It has definitely stacked up well.”

Sally says super-slick, contemporary, apartment-style living wouldn’t sit well in the country; what they have is a modern farm-style home that is hard-wearing and sleek.

“We wanted a home to suit family living (gumboots, quad bikes, firewood, muddy clothes) and the surrounding landscape. There needed to be an element of simplicity about it, too,” Sally says, adding that they are not into “fluffy, decorative finishes”.

The exterior is a deep-grey stained ply and baton with horizontal cedar. At the gable ends, slats of varying thicknesses are randomly placed, creating a feature.

The old sheep shed still has a part to play in family living. While daughter Georgia was still living at home it was a fantastic studio and creative space for her and fellow budding musician Mack. The space was also perfect for teenage hangouts, with Georgia even using it to host songwriting retreats on occasion. But nowadays the shed is a self-contained bed-and-breakfast, and Mack’s music-making zone has been shifted to a spare bedroom.

The Pod

The main living pod comprises the home’s entrance, open-plan kitchen, dining and family spaces (along with an office nook behind double doors), the master bedroom suite, and an area the family call their night lounge or snug.

The second pod is home to the remaining three bedrooms and a bathroom.

An internal courtyard is an integral part of the design and means the view can be enjoyed from several vantage points around the house. Stacker doors form walls of glass in the main living pod, ensuring a look-through perspective from the courtyard.

The garage has been designed with the same effect so that it, too, could one day become a games room or a granny flat with full visibility of the commanding view.

Material choices

Sally acknowledges that interior design trends can change rapidly so it was imperative she chose items and finishes she has always liked, rather than those that are the height of fashion. That’s why her love of raw materials has come to the fore.

“I like the idea of using honest materials, so we have concrete floors (not cut and polished, just lightly burnished), raw sisal carpet, natural fibres such as linen, and we have earthy colours,” she explains. “I have always loved natural fabrics and crisp white to keep things fresh. We are determined to be quite comfortable in our home.”

Words by: Monique Balvert O’Connor. Photography by: Rachel Dobbs

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