This stunning Queenstown property combines cutting-edge technology with traditional building elements, making it the perfect family home all year round.
Sitting on Slope Hill Road, in between Queenstown and Arrowtown, the home of Claire and Sam Hazledine and their two daughters is a dream come true. “You look out one window and you see Coronet Peak, look out another window to Cardrona, turn again and you see Wakatipu Basin. It’s a pretty special place,” says Claire. The family moved into the home two years ago after it was meticulously planned by Team Green architects who are based in Queenstown. “The whole process was a bit of a blur to be honest,” says Claire. “I had a baby and was pregnant for a lot of it. We were lucky the architects did such a good job.”
Siân Taylor and Mark Read of Team Green were the lead architects for the design. Sam says the brief was pretty simple. “We wanted a home that provides a great environment to raise our children. We wanted both a healthy environment and a loving environment. It needed to be warm in winter, cool in summer, with healthy air.” Team Green was tasked with the job as they had experience in designing stylish, energy-efficient homes. “Form followed function in that we wanted to create spaces that support the way we want to live, while still being beautiful,” says Sam. Claire agrees: “Weather is such a big part of your life here. In the winter we get plenty of power cuts but the house doesn’t ever get below 18 degrees which is great. The house stays really cool in the summer too.”
Taylor says of the design brief, “Sam and Claire had been looking to buy a house, but couldn’t find anything that really suited what they wanted. A key concern was that the home was a warm, healthy and comfortable family home. “A combination of thermal comfort and energy efficient design is a fundamental part of what we provide for our clients. Another design criteria for Sam and Claire was that the house should be appropriate to its site, and our local vernacular – it needed to look as though it was meant to be there.”
In terms of how the home looks, the Hazledines wanted a traditional style building that wouldn’t date. “We wanted a home that felt like a lodge with traditional New Zealand rural elements,” explains Sam. “Like a good business, we wanted the house to have rock-solid character and values, while utilising the latest technology under the hood.” Taking inspiration from the old miner’s cottages around central Otago, the designers used schist as a feature in the classic stack-stone tradition.
“The material palette came from the desire to look both timeless and of this region,” says Taylor. “A key element was the schist spine wall which runs the entire length of the house. “This creates a definite front and back to the house, and allows for privacy from a popular cycle route while creating a strong visual element to direct visitors to the entry.” A mix of wood, concrete and glass also heavily featured in the classic design. “I particularly love the concrete floors,” says Claire. “In winter the floor is heated by the sun and then it retains the heat afterwards.”
For cold or overcast days, underfloor heating that comes from a ground-source heat pump is used. This type of central heating transfers heat from the ground by using the earth as a heat source, which improves efficiency and reduces operational costs.
“The house looks very traditional with the use of wood but in order to achieve an outstanding environment, it is also very technical,” says Sam. “Some of the technologies haven’t been used a lot in New Zealand so these posed challenges coming together.” The windows, for example, came from Germany. “They have superior thermal qualities,” says Claire, “and remain airtight, which is very important in passive solar design.” The airtight windows prevent cold air drafts coming in the winter and hot air from entering the home in the summer. “I think we created a solid building that feels right in the rural landscape. The extensive use of oak and other natural products give the house a substantial feel,” says Sam. Most importantly, the spaces work really well for their family and the way they live. “The large living area creates a huge space for the energy of family life to unfold, while the snug creates a cozy intimate space to relax,” explains Sam.
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