10 Breezy Bachs That’ll Have You Running to the Beach

We’re totally buying into the idea of the New Zealand bach—a modest beach house soaked in sun and surf.
Text by

With summer right around the corner, we’re fantasizing about sun, surf, and beach shacks—specifically the New Zealand bach. Pronounced "batch," a Kiwi bach is essentially a traditional beach house. Unpretentious and unfussy, they’re meant to be accessible to all and represent a nostalgic, summertime state of mind. The humble beach homes below hail from New Zealand and beyond; from a classic bach on a sandy beach to a secluded prefab on a cliffside, these seaside getaways all privilege an outdoor connection, craftsmanship, and the use of natural, durable materials.

1. Kapiti Coast Bach

Fed up with flashy, environmentally insensitive beach homes, architect Gerald Parsonson and his wife, Kate, designed a humble hideaway nestled behind sand dunes along the New Zealand coastline. Crafted in the image of a modest Kiwi bach, their 1,670-square-foot retreat consists of a group of small buildings clad in black-stained pine weatherboards and fiber-cement sheets. 

After finding paradise on a Hawaiian papaya farm, filmmaker Jess Bianchi and jewelry designer Malia Grace Mau tapped San Francisco artist Jay Nelson and a team from the Outer Sunset to design and build their dream home in just five weeks. Located just one block from the beach, the home takes inspiration from laid-back surf shacks and is mainly built with reclaimed wood. 

To take in views of Victoria’s coastline from all directions, Austin Maynard Architects crafted a bach-inspired beach house using a circular, corridor-free design and full-height glazing. Exposed trusses and a simple material palette keep focus on the outdoors, while rooftop solar panels and a rainwater harvesting system help the dwelling reduce site impact. 

Designed for off-grid functionality out of necessity, the self-sufficient bach that Herbst Architects designed for their friend is a stellar getaway on New Zealand’s Great Barrier Island. Clad in cedar, the modestly sized abode embraces outdoor living and views of the Pacific Ocean. 

Shop the Look
Skargaarden Nozib Sun Lounger
Nozib Sun Lounger is what comes to mind when one thinks of Scandinavian design. The lines are simple yet breathtakingly elegant and raise the design to a true work of art. With its sleek, graceful lines Nozib is constructed in a way that makes it exceptionally strong.
The Citizenry Mercado Storage Basket
Handcrafted with Mexican palm leaves and topped with luxe leather handles, these storage baskets have mastered the art of stashing clutter. Designed in two roomy sizes, this duo is perfect for storing blankets, books, towels, toys – pretty much anything and everything.

Casey Brown Architecture designed the Hart House, a modern update to the one-room Australian beach shack that overlooks Great Mackerel Beach. The contemporary home mimics the shack vernacular with its simple boxy construction that’s wrapped in a protective shell of corrugated metal.  

For an escape from bustling San Francisco, architect Craig Steely and his wife Cathy have created a modernist getaway on a lava field next to a black sand beach on Hawaii’s Big Island. Fitted with floor-to-ceiling windows that look out over the ocean, the steel-framed home is one of several homes that Steely built on the recently active lava field. 

Built to go off the grid, this remote beachside cottage can open up completely to the outdoors with its series of movable wall-sized glass panels and screens. Designed by Herbst Architects, the modest New Zealand bach comprises two rectangular pavilions built with mostly natural materials chosen for their durability, texture, and weathering characteristics.  

In Lorne, Victoria, Austin Maynard Architects gave an old shack near the beach a modern revamp and a timber extension that allows for elevated sea views. With interiors lined in recycled Silvertop Ash, the house oozes a cozy, cabin-like feel.

Completed in just six weeks by Australian practice Archiblox, this modest prefab home is perched atop cliffs with prime views of Avalon Beach, just a short drive away from Sydney. Oriented east to west to maximize cross ventilation, the house is clad in marine-grade Colorbond Ultra steel and Queensland blue gum to protect against the elements. 

A crooked little fisherman cottage gets a new lease on life in the hands of owners Jamie Kwong and his wife, Ingrid, who renovate the seaside shack with an eco-friendly approach that includes recycled and repurposed materials wherever possible. Located across the bay from Australia’s Palm Beach, the Little Black Shack has been made available to rent for your next dream vacation getaway. 

Related Reading: 10 Superb Surf Shacks


Last Updated

Get the Dwell Newsletter

Be the first to see our latest home tours, design news, and more.