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personalized photo gifts for her This unique holiday home in Pauanui makes family getaways easy sofa pillow covers

This one-of-a-kind Pauanui bach, that suits its two owners just fine, was cleverly designed to accommodate the whole family

Warren Drinkwater, general manager of HomeTech, and Christine Drinkwater.

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The best baches have plenty of space for family and friends to bunk down and join in the fun. The very best baches go a step further and offer friends and family their own separate space, giving them somewhere to retreat when they want privacy or quiet time. With three grown daughters (one married with a child and the others recently engaged), Warren and Christine Drinkwater knew they wanted their Pauanui bach to be one of the very best, with the capacity to accommodate their growing family.

“We built it for Christine and I to enjoy, but with a view that we’d have space for overflow when the kids visited,” says Warren.

Howeverpersonalized photo gifts for her, the couple wanted to avoid rattling around in an oversized house when they were on their own, so Warren told architect Paul Leuschke, of Leuschke Kahn Architects, that the house needed to work just as well with two of them in it as it would with 10.

“We didn’t want something onerous that required too much cleaning and had us bogged down each weekend doing chores. We wanted something quite self-contained, with things we don’t have at our Auckland home, so that it felt like a beach property and a bit different to what we’re used to,” he explains.

The architect spent a weekend sleeping at the family’s old 1970s bach (later sold and relocated to clear space for the new-build) in order to figure out how to make the most of the site, views and sun.

The sketch he came back with included a main house with two bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen and living spaces. The pièce de résistance, though, was a separate ‘pod’ featuring two bedrooms, each big enough to accommodate a queen-sized bed and a set of bunks, separated by a bathroom in the middle.

“Paul’s pod scheme was brilliant – it was exactly what I’d been thinking of. It means we all have spaces to retreat to, plus it’s created a U-shaped arrangement which allows for privacy and cuts out wind,” says Warren.

This is the Drinkwaters’ third new-build and their second designed by Paul Leuschke, so Warren and Christine had perfect trust in Paul and his process.

Work started in October 2015 and the house was completed by August 2016. “It wasn’t a difficult build,” recalls Warren. “Christine and I would head down for site meetings some weekends, but otherwise we’d just communicate regularly with the builders by phone. We stuck to Paul’s design and followed that reasonably truly, which helped make the project pretty stress-free.”

Warren is a fan of architects and the value they can bring to a build. “They are costly, but they’re worth their weight in gold,” he says. “They have the skills to design a house that works not only for the space but for how your family likes to live. In this house, there is no wasted space – there are no hallways or funny alcoves. All of it works to make this house feel a hell of a lot bigger than it is.”

Paul designed an 80-square-metre deck to connect the guest pod and the main house. As well as cutting down on lawn area, the deck also acts as another living space. On a sunny day the family fling open the doors and stacking windows and everyone sprawls outside, eating, chatting, reading or dozing the hours away.

Like the rest of the house, the deck is well utilised. It boasts a covered entertaining area off the kitchen and a central fireplace with its own seating pit – a fun feature the Drinkwaters and their friends and family enjoy at night as they cook pizzas in the pizza oven and shoot the breeze. Roasting marshmallows with the grandchildren is sure to be on the agenda in years to come.

It was a running joke during the build that whenever the Drinkwaters asked Paul what colour something should be, he’d invariably answer, “Black.” Window frames? Black. Exterior? Black. Roof? Black. So when it came to the interior, Paul gave his suggestion: black – against a backdrop of Resene ‘Double Alabaster’ walls. “Black’s the new white; it’s what you do,” laughs Paul.

Running with the monochromatic theme made it easy for the Drinkwaters to choose accessories and fittings, and interior designer Sarah Kerr gave them a few pointers on what materials would best suit their new beach house. Since then, Christine has also introduced a pop of yellow to bring in a beachy vibe.

Something that catches the eye of most visitors are the graphic bathroom floor tiles. As soon as Warren and Christine saw them, they knew they’d hit the jackpot. The tiles make a real statement, giving both bathrooms a ‘boutique hotel’ vibe.

Last year the Drinkwaters celebrated their second Christmas in the new bach and the first with all three daughters home from Christchurch, Auckland and the UK – and they all look forward to many more. For Warren and Christine, this is just the start of many special moments they can celebrate at their one-of-a-kind bach, whether it’s just the two of them, or 10 or more.

Words by: Debbie Harrison. Photography by: Vanessa and Michael Lewis.

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