You Won't Want to Leave This Cozy Cabin in New Zealand

Add to
Like
Share
By Melissa Dalton / Published by Dwell
An Australian couple build a small cabin retreat in New Zealand for their family—then decide to make it available to rent for the rest of us.

Not too long ago, Kenny and Heidi Smith started talking about investing their money. The outdoor-loving, Queensland–based couple thought they might like to buy a property with some of their savings. 

The couple wanted their cabin to mesh with its beautiful natural surroundings. "To us, this meant small," says Kenny. "We wanted the design to put you right into the landscape, and by making it small we feel drawn to the night sky and mountains that surround us."

The couple wanted their cabin to mesh with its beautiful natural surroundings. "To us, this meant small," says Kenny. "We wanted the design to put you right into the landscape, and by making it small we feel drawn to the night sky and mountains that surround us."

"But we couldn’t get inspired with the idea of buying something we didn’t care about, renting it out, then flipping it for profit," says Kenny. 

"We have two children who were coming into early adulthood, and as it became apparent that they would start becoming more independent and move out of the family home, I felt drawn to the idea of having a sort of temple that would call all of us to this place to reconnect with the outdoors."

"With this cabin I wanted something that was robust, so you could enter after an outdoor activity, kick your boots off, start the fire, and put some food on," explains Kenny. "But at the same time, have a feeling of space with the high ceilings, and some luxury and comforts of modern living, like a nice shower and great water pressure."

"With this cabin I wanted something that was robust, so you could enter after an outdoor activity, kick your boots off, start the fire, and put some food on," explains Kenny. "But at the same time, have a feeling of space with the high ceilings, and some luxury and comforts of modern living, like a nice shower and great water pressure."

That "temple" would end up being a charming 535-square-foot cabin on 10 acres in New Zealand, just fifteen minutes from the town of Twizel. 

For the cabin's design, the Smiths were inspired by the back-country huts and hiking shelters found in the Southern Alps of New Zealand, as well as Jens Risom's prefab vacation cabin on Block Island. 

The handmade coffee table was crafted from Larch wood and bought off Facebook.

The handmade coffee table was crafted from Larch wood and bought off Facebook.

"I tried to study what I liked about [Risom's] design and I identified that I was drawn to the feature windows on one of the gable ends, as well as the scale of the pitch of the roof in relation to the size of the structure," he continues. 

"I drew from the layout of Jens Risom’s cabin and laid the room out around the light that comes in through the main windows," explains Kenny.

"I drew from the layout of Jens Risom’s cabin and laid the room out around the light that comes in through the main windows," explains Kenny.

Shop the Look
The Citizenry Palermo Tripolina Chair
The Citizenry Palermo Tripolina Chair
One cannot easily claim "heirloom quality," but we use the term to describe our handcrafted chair - without reservation.  Our Palermo Tripolina Chair's cover is made of thick 100% Argentinian vegetable-tanned polo saddle leather that, like a fine wine, ages beautifully.
Blu Dot New Standard Leather Sofa with Chaise
Blu Dot New Standard Leather Sofa with Chaise
The New Standard Leather Sofa with Chaise from Blu Dot is simplicity at its best - with a twist. Wide arms and inviting loose cushions all come together with tuned proportions and show stopping legs. Available in durable and sumptuous leather upholstery options.
1767 Designs Knox Dusk
1767 Designs Knox Dusk
Rustic geometry to embellish your space. The Knox, in Dusk, blends Southwestern and avant garde details in an intricate mirrored design using charred wood, dark lath and hammered copper.
The built-in sofa was designed to be very functional. The base has storage capacity, and the mattress is the size of a single bed for an extra guest. Plus, industrial-grade foam and fabric ensure the cushions will hold up to wear and tear.

The built-in sofa was designed to be very functional. The base has storage capacity, and the mattress is the size of a single bed for an extra guest. Plus, industrial-grade foam and fabric ensure the cushions will hold up to wear and tear.

You Won't Want to Leave This Cozy Cabin in New Zealand - Photo 6 of 9 -
The interior walls are Ecoline V groove ply. "I chose to use a dark-colored stain inside, so that the walls almost disappear and you’re drawn through the windows to the outdoors," says Kenny.

The interior walls are Ecoline V groove ply. "I chose to use a dark-colored stain inside, so that the walls almost disappear and you’re drawn through the windows to the outdoors," says Kenny.

A queen-size bed in the bedroom features cozy, simple linens.

A queen-size bed in the bedroom features cozy, simple linens.

The exterior siding is in a traditional board and batten style, then accented with a steel roof.

The exterior siding is in a traditional board and batten style, then accented with a steel roof.

Interested in staying at the High Country Cabin? Book your getaway here.

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Jess Paterson

Builder: Templeton Construction

Structural Engineer: Batchelar McDougall Consulting

Cabinetry: Jayden Moore Construction

Sofa Cushions: Karen Ward

Interior Staining: Ace Painters