Early conversations around the design of this new home by Ben Mitchell-Anyon and Sally Ogle of Patchwork Architecture were based around a simple form that would sit quietly in a rural paddock, but the architects soon realised this was not to be a rustic building. “It turned out the clients are real design buffs,” says Ogle.
The couple had moved to the country where they work from home and live an uncluttered, tranquil existence that focuses on the rituals of the day – the movement of the sun, the preparation of food.
They have a large extended family, but they didn’t need a big house – in fact, the house has only one proper bedroom. Though it has expansive living areas, with a generous kitchen at its heart featuring a 4.5-metre-long island bench. “Enough for two people day to day,” says Mitchell-Anyon, “but it can also act like a marae when the family comes to stay.”
The kitchen is at the heart and sits in the middle of the living area, between a cosy living space and an open dining area that extends to a sheltered verandah, which serves as a separate room. In place of a splashback, there’s a window above the bench with a view of rolling hills. It’s built from the same honeyed macrocarpa cabinetry that features throughout the house. “The interior is quite refined compared with the outside,” says Mitchell-Anyon. “The materials are simple – plasterboard, concrete and macrocarpa – but the detailing is fine.”
That detail carries through into the appliances, all from Fisher & Paykel. Both clients and architects sought clean lines and restrained details that wouldn’t detract from the refined aesthetic – most noticeably with the 75cm induction cooktop, which allows the eye to glide over and out to the magnificent view.
While the dishwasher is integrated into cabinetry, they were happy for the freestanding refrigerator-freezer to be on show, rather than hidden away – a move that seems so right in a refined, yet practical rural home.
In all, the effect is one of tranquility. “It’s a very calm place to be,” says Mitchell-Anyon.