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This plywood-lined Mangawhai bach is packed with art and unique finds

Newbold by name, Newbold by nature – this creative couple designed and built a personality-packed Mangawhai bach weekend retreat just out of Auckland

Mangawhai bach plywood walls

Making your dreams come true starts with a good dose of common sense and a sprinkling of creativity, both of which Kylee and Mark Newbold have in spades. This creative couple dreamed of weekends spent at their very own bach, but assumed it was a distant life goal. Then a simple day trip to the Mangawhai Heads, just over an hour’s drive from their home in Auckland, changed all that.

“We were trying to find a section within a two-hour radius of our home,” remembers Kylee. “Neither Mark nor I had been to Mangawhai Heads before, but we had seen a few sections on Trade Me so thought we would go and have a look.”

After a casual drive around the area, the couple were overwhelmed by its stunning coastline. They dove in for a swim, and returned to the beach without a doubt that this was the place they had been searching for. A quick scout around the area followed, and within a week they had purchased their section.

Mangawhai bach plywood walls

Wasting no time at all, the Newbolds hatched a plan for a small bolthole on their plot, keeping future expansion in the backs of their minds. The couple designed a modest 36-square-metre building, its square footprint encompassing open-plan living and kitchen, one bedroom, one bathroom and an L-shaped deck.

“As we wanted to build something straight away, we had a strict budget of $100,000,” says Kylee. “This meant we had to stay within a small footprint and think carefully about the layout to maximise both function and aesthetic.”

Managing the build from their Auckland home, the couple engaged local professionals to complete the majority of the work, rendering the home liveable less than a year after they purchased the land. Mark’s accountancy and spreadsheet skills, and clear communication with the project manager, kept costs on track and the final budget in check. The interior fit-out was a labour of love and colour, the painting and finishing completed by the couple.

Mangawhai bach kitchen plywood walls

Colour riot

Although they were building new, the pair were keen to continue their bright and quirky aesthetic at their bach. With its clever and confident colour scheme, as well as a dose of retro art and homeware, the space serves as a fond tribute to old-school Kiwi baches. There’s also a clear relationship between the design of this house and the bold colour-blocking of Kylee’s jewellery line, Throwing Feathers.

With a canvas of plywood walls and ceilings, the couple chose punchy features colours including aqua, mint and baby blue alongside pink, purple and orange.

Mangawhai bach bathroom plywood walls

“Although we were building something new, we wanted a bit of a 1960s-70s vibe,” says Kylee. “I guess our aesthetic is a bit eclectic, as we like to combine different styles and eras. We like to hunt out treasures from op-shops and Trade Me, then mash it all together.”

Mark and Kylee both collected and purchased homeware and furniture to adorn their new bach. They spent months searching for a coloured vintage vanity before they found their baby blue beauty at a demolition yard in Avondale. A giant orange buoy was purchased and repurposed as a hanging chair, perfect for curling up with a good book on the veranda.

Mangawhai bach bedroom plywood walls

The end result is nothing less than charming. This bach’s unassuming cladding disguises a unique and fun space that reflects the Newbolds’ lifestyle and love of design perfectly.

For Kylee and Mark, the ability to simply hop from their Auckland home to their new bach is the main drawcard, along with an opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life in the city.

“Being less than two hours from home means we are able to head up frequently and make the most of our bach,” says Kylee. “Mark has taken up fishing and spends time most weekends surfcasting off the beach. It’s also a great place for me to unwind and work on my jewellery line.”

The future

With a plan to eventually move north permanently, the Newbolds are now using this home as a landing pad to engage with the community and map out their future. The current house was planned as a second dwelling, but after living in the space for a few years, Mark and Kylee have decided to extend its footprint and add a studio instead.

“We’re hoping to move to Mangawhai in the next couple of years, so we’re having plans drawn up to extend the space,” says Mark. “We’re looking to extend the lounge and create a second bedroom where the deck currently is. We’re also looking to build a sleepout, which will become Kylee’s jewellery studio.”

In the meantime, simple pleasures are the name of the game: hosting friends and family, having a beer on the veranda and relishing the fact that their bach dream has come true.

“We never thought we could make it a reality until we were much older,” says Kylee. “We’re stoked to have this little space and try to make the most of it whenever we can. As soon as we drive into Mangawhai, the stress rolls away and we can relax. Our bach may be tiny, but it’s perfect for us.”

Mangawhai bach exterior

Words by: Tina Stephen. Photography by: Helen Bankers.

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