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Bach to the Beach

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With authenticity and simplicity as their rallying cry, a Kiwi architect and his wife have built a modern beach house that puts a fresh spin on the local vernacular.

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    Photo by Matthew Williams.
    Photo by Matthew Williams.
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  The bach’s beachfront site is nestled behind sand dunes with views toward Kapiti Island, a nature sanctuary.  Photo by Matthew Williams.
    The bach’s beachfront site is nestled behind sand dunes with views toward Kapiti Island, a nature sanctuary. Photo by Matthew Williams.
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  The bach was designed with a combined open-plan kitchen, living room, and dining area, for which Gerald designed a dining table that seats ten. Bare bulbs, open shelves, and bright orange MDF cabinets in the kitchen maintain the low-key vibe.  Photo by Matthew Williams.
    The bach was designed with a combined open-plan kitchen, living room, and dining area, for which Gerald designed a dining table that seats ten. Bare bulbs, open shelves, and bright orange MDF cabinets in the kitchen maintain the low-key vibe. Photo by Matthew Williams.
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  Gerald designed the bach to feel as casual as possible, hence the lack of a paved driveway and garage.  Photo by Matthew Williams.
    Gerald designed the bach to feel as casual as possible, hence the lack of a paved driveway and garage. Photo by Matthew Williams.
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  The view of Kapiti Island is fully revealed from the tower.  Photo by Matthew Williams.
    The view of Kapiti Island is fully revealed from the tower. Photo by Matthew Williams.
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  Gerald wanted the siting of the buildings to appear loose, like a campsite. The gap between the living room and the bedroom wing accommodates a washing line.  Photo by Matthew Williams.
    Gerald wanted the siting of the buildings to appear loose, like a campsite. The gap between the living room and the bedroom wing accommodates a washing line. Photo by Matthew Williams.
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  The site includes a boat shed and a tractor the family uses to pull their boat to and from the ramp.  Photo by Matthew Williams.
    The site includes a boat shed and a tractor the family uses to pull their boat to and from the ramp. Photo by Matthew Williams.
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  Will relaxes on the sofa Gerald designed, below a painting by Gary Freemantle.  Photo by Matthew Williams.
    Will relaxes on the sofa Gerald designed, below a painting by Gary Freemantle. Photo by Matthew Williams.
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  A bathroom with corrugated steel walls opens directly to the outdoors, making it easy to shower post-beach.  Photo by Matthew Williams.
    A bathroom with corrugated steel walls opens directly to the outdoors, making it easy to shower post-beach. Photo by Matthew Williams.
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  With no television in the bach, reading books and playing board games are favorite activities.  Photo by Matthew Williams.
    With no television in the bach, reading books and playing board games are favorite activities. Photo by Matthew Williams.
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  Kate and Gerald relax in the living room.  Photo by Matthew Williams.
    Kate and Gerald relax in the living room. Photo by Matthew Williams.
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  Kate’s father predicted they would never use the crow’s nest–like tower, which is reached by climbing a narrow staircase.  Photo by Matthew Williams.
    Kate’s father predicted they would never use the crow’s nest–like tower, which is reached by climbing a narrow staircase. Photo by Matthew Williams.
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  Kate and Gerald enjoy the view up there most nights. The chair was salvaged from the original bach on site and reupholstered.  Photo by Matthew Williams.
    Kate and Gerald enjoy the view up there most nights. The chair was salvaged from the original bach on site and reupholstered. Photo by Matthew Williams.
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  Kayak in hand, Tom and Will make a break for the beach.  Photo by Matthew Williams.
    Kayak in hand, Tom and Will make a break for the beach. Photo by Matthew Williams.
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  The family spends summers and school vacations at the bach. New Zealand's relatively mild winters mean they use the house year-round.  Photo by Matthew Williams.
    The family spends summers and school vacations at the bach. New Zealand's relatively mild winters mean they use the house year-round. Photo by Matthew Williams.
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  The glassy pavilion containing kitchen, dining, and living areas is elevated three feet off the ground on posts so it appears to hover among the dunes.  Photo by Matthew Williams.
    The glassy pavilion containing kitchen, dining, and living areas is elevated three feet off the ground on posts so it appears to hover among the dunes. Photo by Matthew Williams.
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  The orange-painted MDF cabinets add a pop of color to the sun-washed kitchen.  Photo by Matthew Williams.
    The orange-painted MDF cabinets add a pop of color to the sun-washed kitchen. Photo by Matthew Williams.
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  The kitchen in action!  Photo by Matthew Williams.
    The kitchen in action! Photo by Matthew Williams.
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  Stainless steel countertops are easy to clean and weightless-looking, helping bounce light around the kitchen.  Photo by Matthew Williams.
    Stainless steel countertops are easy to clean and weightless-looking, helping bounce light around the kitchen. Photo by Matthew Williams.
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  In the boys' room, a rolling ladder provides access to the top bunk.  Photo by Matthew Williams.
    In the boys' room, a rolling ladder provides access to the top bunk. Photo by Matthew Williams.
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  Will and Tom enjoy their other bedroom essential: a foosball table.  Photo by Matthew Williams.
    Will and Tom enjoy their other bedroom essential: a foosball table. Photo by Matthew Williams.
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  The Parsonsons' dog takes a breather.  Photo by Matthew Williams.
    The Parsonsons' dog takes a breather. Photo by Matthew Williams.
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  There are plenty of places to sprawl in the living room, including an Eames lounger and a custom-made orange chair.  Photo by Matthew Williams.
    There are plenty of places to sprawl in the living room, including an Eames lounger and a custom-made orange chair. Photo by Matthew Williams.
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  The guest room cleverly shoehorns four bunks into a small footprint.  Photo by Matthew Williams.
    The guest room cleverly shoehorns four bunks into a small footprint. Photo by Matthew Williams.
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  Another guestroom, with a bit more space.  Photo by Matthew Williams.
    Another guestroom, with a bit more space. Photo by Matthew Williams.
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  There's plenty of beach reading on hand.  Photo by Matthew Williams.
    There's plenty of beach reading on hand. Photo by Matthew Williams.
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  A topographic map of Kapiti Island hangs in the tower.  Photo by Matthew Williams.
    A topographic map of Kapiti Island hangs in the tower. Photo by Matthew Williams.
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  The view as you head downstairs from the crow's nest tower.  Photo by Matthew Williams.
    The view as you head downstairs from the crow's nest tower. Photo by Matthew Williams.
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  Will demonstrates the post-beach shower ritual.  Photo by Matthew Williams.
    Will demonstrates the post-beach shower ritual. Photo by Matthew Williams.
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  A view into the house from the porch.Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our  FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!   Photo by Matthew Williams.
    A view into the house from the porch.

    Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!

    Photo by Matthew Williams.

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