SLICK: Negative detail is used for a sharp countertop finish. A SLEEK and unfussy house reflects the owners’ penchant for minimalism, but also a keen eye for the best use of space.
Terry and Teng Bradley’s Maraetai house is in the running for a Master Builders Placemakers House of the Year award for Sentinel Homes. It is the Auckland category and gold award winner for new homes in the $350,000-$450,000 price band.
“You can see we like minimalism,” says Terry. The white ceilings are offset by the walls, which are a shade down to reduce the glare. Paint manufacturing company Dulux dubbed the colour “Bradley white” because Terry mixed white with some yellow and brown to come up with the shade that the company manufactured as a one-off.
The 214 square metre house is set on a new subdivision site overlooking the main Whitford-Maraetai Road with an outlook to the Omana Regional Park opposite and a window through the bush to the Hauraki Gulf in the distance.
To retain the minimalist look and not obstruct the views, the low-pitched roof is supported by internal steel so that only three exterior support beams are needed to hold the roof above the upstairs deck. Also, the wrap-around deck along one side of the house is cantilevered to eliminate the need for obstructive poles.
“Our front street is not the main thoroughfare — the main road is at the back of the house. So we wanted the architectural detail at the back,” Terry says. He is especially pleased with the double-glazing on all the windows and glass doors, which blocks noise from the road below and also stops condensation.
Terry and Teng have resisted the “walk-in” trend.
Instead, one wall of the master bedroom is devoted to wardrobe and storage shelving space and closed off by large sliding doors, including a sliding full-length mirror.
“We’ve created a walk-in effect,” Terry says.
A bath was a must for the couple. But instead of putting it in the main bathroom, they have turned their bedroom en suite into the main event with a large, deep bath, double hand-basins and a large shower cubicle.
“Traditionally the bath goes into the main bathroom,” Terry says. “But we decided to reverse that. We have no children and we wanted to be able to use the bath without having to go to another part of the house. Instead, the guest bedrooms downstairs have the smaller bathroom.
“We also put a second linen cupboard on the same floor so we don’t need to go downstairs. Our aim was to get everything on one level for our needs. The only thing we need to go downstairs for is the laundry.”
The laundry on the ground floor is another space-saving feature. It is placed in an alcove in the hall way leading to a back door with more sliding doors to hide the contents.
“We’ve saved on square metres of flooring,” Terry says. Instead the money is diverted to a substantial stainless steel bench laundry unit with three deep drawers underneath. The other end of the alcove is devoted to general storage space and shelving, all screened off by a sliding door.
Dining, living room and kitchen space blends seamlessly and faces onto a substantial 54 square metre north and west-facing deck looking out to the park land and the sea view.
“We wanted a roof and lights on the deck so that we can use it all the time,” Terry says. “The roof also stops the summer sun coming into the house.
“When the sun is low in winter, it comes right into the lounge. We put in a lot of effort to have a roof because it could be raining and we can still sit here.”
Rejecting the walk-in theme, the Bradleys opted for a half-length pantry and deep soft-close drawers for cooking equipment beneath.
“Instead of squatting or stretching into cupboards, we can access the back of the drawers by pulling them out,” Terry says. “And we’ve had inserts fitted at the back of each drawer so that stuff doesn’t fall over the edge.”
Instead of a laminate, the cupboard and drawers finish is a 0.5ml thick plastic product which can’t chip and is good for wiping. A large kitchen island bench incorporates a CaesarStone countertop, double sink – one extra large for washing bulky items such as roasting dishes.
“We put in a white fridge and dishwasher, leaving only the cooker and range hood in stainless steel as a centre piece.”
Cooking condiments such as bottles of oils and herb and spice containers are housed in two narrow cupboards each side of the cooker with pull-out internal drawers for easy accessibility.
A subtle feature of the bench edges is the negative detail which Terry and Teng opted for instead of the traditional waterfall flush finish.
“We like the square look all the way around and it also stops the potential for water to get into the custom board,” Terry says.
The minimalist look continues outside. Because the section slopes, the Bradleys have opted mainly for bark gardens and flaxes.
“It’s windy and coastal here so we need hardy plants. Also, because the bank is steep we’ve gone for garden rather than lawn,” Terry says.