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This Waiheke Island getaway soon became a permanent home

Article by Home Magazine

Working within a modest footprint, architect Vaughn McQuarrie injected drama into the design of this simple Waiheke Island home 

The 5 rules of designing a small home by Vaughn McQuarrie

1 Design for the sun

First and foremost, plan the house to get sun into the main spaces, if not all of them – more of it in the winter, less in the summer. Sunlight can transform even the smallest room.

2 Less is more

Minimalism works for small spaces. Clean lines and well-thought-out detailing can make a space seem bigger by minimising visual clutter. We also try to incorporate built-in furniture, which is a great space saver as well as reducing clutter.

3 Link rooms to external spaces

Opening rooms to external spaces is an easy way to enlarge a room with less cost. Decking is a lot cheaper per square metre than the square-metre rate of building internal spaces.

4 Minimise the size of intermittent spaces

Give space to the areas people spend more time in, like living areas, the kitchen, or the bedrooms. Spaces that you only pass through, like stairways, halls, and entry areas don’t need to be big. Arriving in a room, having passed through a tight space, can enhance the feeling of spaciousness.

5 Use height

We always try to lift ceilings beyond the standard 2.4m – the extra height goes a long way towards creating a light, airy feeling. This also ties into the previous point, by adding drama with the spatial play of compression and expansion.

Words by
: Henry Oliver. Photography by: Simon Devitt.

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