A Diamond on the Harbour
The Fox House juts out of its Diamond Harbour hillside like an igneous outcrop surveying the surrounding landscape, its volume split along an axial line from King Billy Island in the harbour below.
There is no wasted space in the three-bedroom 130m2 footprint. It does everything it needs to and nothing it doesn’t. The dramatic dark exterior form references its volcanic setting, though its volumetric divide provides a functional purpose for the interior too: playing public vs private / active vs resting / living vs sleeping spaces off one another in an L-shaped plan configuration.
The west-angling living wing stretches high to capture the sun and the views. Its arrangement is dedicated to utility and function, flanked by a full-length joinery unit along the southern wall that serves all spaces – incorporating food, storage, entertainment, books, and windows for ventilation and carefully selected views towards the site’s entry. Louvre-canopied northern glazing leads out onto the central deck that bridges the two wings and allows for controlled solar gain in the hot Canterbury summers. To the west a large picture window frames the panoramic view, the shifting light and seasons.
Sunken below the raw concrete floor of the living room sits the man cave.
At right angles to its western neighbour, the second wing is low and less bold. Nestled against the contour of the hillside it fosters contemplative, quiet spaces for rest and recovery, and for simply being – sewing, meditating and bathing. Full-height sliding ‘walls’ add privacy and versatility to this open interior, allowing a comfortable house for two to transform into a series of spaces that can accommodate returning children, family and friends. The piece de resistance of this wing is its bathroom – or bath – that floats on a clifftop in the midst of the view.
Words from the owner:
We can't believe we have just passed our first year anniversary here. Living in this place, in this house is like living in paradise. Moving here has literally changed our lives after all those years of living in an earthquake damaged home and battling with insurers this is a haven - what one imagines a home to really be.
We have enjoyed the constant warmth in winter and appreciated the relative cool on some of the beautiful summer days we have been experiencing.
The solar system has been performing really well too - our summer power bills have been made up entirely of the fixed charges as we have exported more than we have used - $20-$30!. Even in the winter our highest power account was only about $200. Compared with $300 -$400 at Weston road plus $700-$800 costs in firewood. We are very happy indeed with the underfloor heating and our solar panels.
We have also been able to entertain here which we never did at the old house. We had my team's work Christmas do here. About 30 people. It was lovely to be able to open up all the doors onto the deck and use the house as well as the outdoor areas to such good effect.
There were many comments about the bath - and the bathroom tiles:-)
We are so thankful to have had you guys designing our home and Glenn and his team turning it into reality.
Photographs copyright of: Jason Mann Photography