Feature Project

Aongatete – South

Te Huia Orchard – Owner’s Home – 2017

This Aongatete, Katikati home was designed as a country haven for a progressive professional couple. Nested into a hillside with panoramic wetland views, the house wraps around a sunny entertainment area with plunge pool, deck and outdoor fire to entice extended family to visit.


The house takes full advantage of the views over the lower wetland to the northeast and general rural outlook southwest toward the Kaimai Range. The southerly aspect presented design challenges that were overcome with modern glazing and construction techniques plus careful placement of open circulation and light gathering features.


Dark cladding was selected to reduce the visual impact of the building bulk on the landscape and better blend into the surrounding shelter belt planting. Extensive use of glass balustrading was used to maintaining an ‘open’ outlook over the decked and balcony features.

A double pitched, or canted, skillion roof over the main lounge features a plywood ceiling with negative joins adding to the the many unusual finishing aspects of this modern and exciting home.


This property takes full advantage of it’s rural amenity with the owners planting a firewood grove to fuel the three wood burner fireplaces in the home, one of which has a wetback that boosts the hot water system.

Interior wood burner


The lower roof over the single level family wing has a pitched roof supporting both photovoltaic (PV) and water heating solar panels. The PV system runs the central aircon unit for summer cooling as well as supplying general electric power. Additionally, a solar water heating system situated on the lounge roof provides heating for the outdoor swimming pool.


Summer cooling is augmented with high level opening sashes in the glazing to both lounge and stairwell. These are electric remote operated to allow exit for any heat build up.

Raised vegetable and herb gardens, integral to the owners ethos of sustainable living, have been incorporated into the outdoor living space close to the house.

The concrete floor slabs are fully insulated with polystyrene sheet underlay and all walls and roofs are well insulated beyond minimum standards, future-proofing for expected climate change.

Open frame staircase – Aongatete

Additional benefit was gained from the concrete tilt slab wall backing the stairs by adding a window into the skillion roof of the media room beyond. This allows sunlight to wash the back of this wall and act as a passive solar heat sink.


Exterior cladding is from New Zealand plantation pine boards which have been specially processed by drying and lamination to ensure stability and reduce wastage. Another great environmental option when concerns for the planet are foremost.

One of the main features of this home are the many easy connections to its outdoor amenity spaces. A door from the dining room opens onto a large covered balcony deck with expansive rural and wetland views – this entertainment area is also serviced by bi-folding windows from the kitchen and adjacent scullery, creating a versatile al fresco eating space.

A large outdoor court with a sunny northern aspect accommodates a swimming pool, large patio with a wood burner fireplace and a timber deck cantilevering over the sloping ground above the wetland. This area is directly accessed from the main living area, dining room and media room.


Both outdoor areas are on opposite sides of the dining room allowing for multiple spaces for larger family gatherings regardless of weather conditions. With glass fenced pool and easy access to a changing area and bathroom within the family wing, this is a kid and adult friendly space, designed for family fun.

Pool Deck Barrier
Glass balustrade supported with timber posts.