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Nature Nurtured

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On the shores of New Zealand’s Lake Wakatipu, architects Bronwen Kerr and Pete Ritchie designed a relaxed family home that reclines into its spectacular landscape.

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  When Bronwen Kerr and Pete Ritchie decided to relocate from New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, to Queenstown, on the country’s South Island, they designed a new home for themselves and their three children on a site Ritchie had purchased when he was living in the area—a stunning lakeside plot. Working in partnership, the couple devised a home and studio that is separated by a passage through the middle of the building.  Photo by: Stephen Oxenbury
    When Bronwen Kerr and Pete Ritchie decided to relocate from New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, to Queenstown, on the country’s South Island, they designed a new home for themselves and their three children on a site Ritchie had purchased when he was living in the area—a stunning lakeside plot. Working in partnership, the couple devised a home and studio that is separated by a passage through the middle of the building.

    Photo by: Stephen Oxenbury

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  The sunny side of the home is clad in cedar weatherboards and features sleeping quarters on the upper level with living spaces below.  Photo by: Stephen Oxenbury
    The sunny side of the home is clad in cedar weatherboards and features sleeping quarters on the upper level with living spaces below.

    Photo by: Stephen Oxenbury

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  One bathroom features a ladder that leads up to a yoga studio.  Photo by: Stephen Oxenbury
    One bathroom features a ladder that leads up to a yoga studio.

    Photo by: Stephen Oxenbury

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  The kids, Archie, Linus, and Olive, stand in the kitchen, beneath the strand board–clad stairwell that leads to the bedrooms. Kerr and Ritchie initially envisaged rich materials for the interior, but changed their minds in favor of what they call a “cartoony” approach with cheaper, hard-wearing elements. “We didn’t want the space to feel too grown-up,” Kerr says.  Photo by: Stephen Oxenbury
    The kids, Archie, Linus, and Olive, stand in the kitchen, beneath the strand board–clad stairwell that leads to the bedrooms. Kerr and Ritchie initially envisaged rich materials for the interior, but changed their minds in favor of what they call a “cartoony” approach with cheaper, hard-wearing elements. “We didn’t want the space to feel too grown-up,” Kerr says.

    Photo by: Stephen Oxenbury

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  Queenstown gets cold in winter, hence the installation of a sauna. Outside, the landscaping was kept deliberately casual, with rock walls and gravel paths.  Photo by: Stephen Oxenbury
    Queenstown gets cold in winter, hence the installation of a sauna. Outside, the landscaping was kept deliberately casual, with rock walls and gravel paths.

    Photo by: Stephen Oxenbury

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  The home is made up of two parts: a rear wing containing the studio and a guest room, and the north-facing living quarters (which, in the southern hemisphere, attract the most sun) overlooking the lake.  Photo by: Stephen Oxenbury
    The home is made up of two parts: a rear wing containing the studio and a guest room, and the north-facing living quarters (which, in the southern hemisphere, attract the most sun) overlooking the lake.

    Photo by: Stephen Oxenbury

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  The home is mostly clad in black trapezoidal-profile steel, with cedar boards lining what the owners call the “human spaces”—external passages between buildings. A solar hot water system perches on the roof.  Photo by: Stephen Oxenbury
    The home is mostly clad in black trapezoidal-profile steel, with cedar boards lining what the owners call the “human spaces”—external passages between buildings. A solar hot water system perches on the roof.

    Photo by: Stephen Oxenbury

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  Kerr Ritchie Architects’ studio at the rear of the building opens onto a lawn on the lake side of the home. The form evolved during planning from a “modernist box” into a “strong, sculptural” frame.  Photo by: Stephen Oxenbury
    Kerr Ritchie Architects’ studio at the rear of the building opens onto a lawn on the lake side of the home. The form evolved during planning from a “modernist box” into a “strong, sculptural” frame.

    Photo by: Stephen Oxenbury

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  Linus, Archie, and Olive relax on the home’s cedar-lined front deck that opens off the main living area.  Photo by: Stephen Oxenbury
    Linus, Archie, and Olive relax on the home’s cedar-lined front deck that opens off the main living area.

    Photo by: Stephen Oxenbury

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  The main living area. The home is flanked on the east by a precipitous mountain range named The Remarkables. In summer, the weather gets hot enough for the family to go swimming and boating.  Photo by: Stephen Oxenbury
    The main living area. The home is flanked on the east by a precipitous mountain range named The Remarkables. In summer, the weather gets hot enough for the family to go swimming and boating.

    Photo by: Stephen Oxenbury

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  The location on the shores of a small bay means it is sheltered from cold southerly winds. The alpine location provided plenty of inspiration for landscaping, which Ritchie and Kerr elected to keep as minimal as possible, as if the home had landed on its site with as little disturbance or alteration as possible.  Photo by: Stephen Oxenbury
    The location on the shores of a small bay means it is sheltered from cold southerly winds. The alpine location provided plenty of inspiration for landscaping, which Ritchie and Kerr elected to keep as minimal as possible, as if the home had landed on its site with as little disturbance or alteration as possible.

    Photo by: Stephen Oxenbury

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