Design with wow factor in Wakatipu

Design with wow factor in Wakatipu
Reflections, designed by Queenstown architect Stacey Farrell, features individual pods for privacy, views, and sun.

Building a new home is usually the most costly thing someone will do in their lifetime, so its important to make it special, and to get it right first time.
Queenstown Architect Stacey Farrell knows this only too well. The Arthur’s Point home she designed for herself and her partner fits into the surrounding landscape like a timeless work of art.
The first stage recently won her a Small Projects Award with the NZ Institute of Architects, so it must be pretty good. “Black House” resembles a black jagged rock, shifted tectonically – split and sliding down the slope.
The split faces of the black form are crumpled like the faces of a broken rock and with vegetation creeping into the gaps.
Whilst on the outside the home seems perched like a falling rock, reminding one that the landscape is moving on a slow trajectory in its geological time-frame, the inside is solid and functional and skilfully uses the small space to great effect.
Farrell’s designs have frequently been featured in magazines and architecture awards.
She has worked in the Wakatipu for more than a decade, designing and overseeing a wide range of building projects including education, commercial, and residential builds of varying sizes and scale. “I’m not scared of all shapes and sizes.
Every site has its own opportunities and challenges and I’m here to help the client through all stages of the planning and building process,” she says.
Farrell likes to put herself in her client’s shoes when she is designing a home to suit their specific needs in a creative way, to see how they live and how they operate.
“My most successful projects are the ones where I am involved from the start – so the whole house is brought together as one cohesive project,” says Farrell.
This includes the entire process from planning to designing, building and decorating.
Being able to have input right from the start means she can make suggestions on landscape and forms and how the building connects into the landscape.
“The package I offer is the bringing together of a specific site, and people’s hopes and dreams.” Queenstown’s alpine scenery and fascinating geology often provide her inspiration, as do the various landforms, changing seasons, ever-changing colours and light in the mountains and lakes. She uses a palette of materials carefully selected so they to relate to the building form, in a style that “often tends towards modern with clean lines.”
Farrell plans for mud rooms, wet rooms and airlock entries if clients are planning on spending winters in their homes.
She often prefers low maintenance claddings, such as ColorsteelTM or Vulcan Cladding – a premium weatherboard timber, created from Abodo’s thermally modified New Zealand plantation timber, being mindful of time and cost for her clients.
She designed a beautiful home at Jacks Point using the Vulcan Cladding which is coated in a protector oil.
The straw-coloured finish sits well with the surrounding tussock landscape and complies with the strict covenants at Jack’s Point which required a natural palette of materials.
Lately most of her projects have been residential builds and high-end luxury rentals, like a stunning holiday house she calls “Tilt Shift,” with fantastic 180 degree lake views in Queenstown.

Design with wow factor in Wakatipu

Design with wow factor in Wakatipu

“The site is steep, like many we deal with, and the design methodology explored the shift and tilt of the rock strata seen on site. Tilting and shifting materials and forms to create an abstraction, as a tilt shift photographic lens would do.”
Meanwhile in the “Reflections” holiday home, Farrell worked with a flat site with the 360 degree mountain views reflected in the landscape ponds.
“The concept was to create individual pods that give separation within the house. Each pod has been carefully placed for privacy, to get views of the main ponds, and for North sun. They are connected by a gallery, displaying some of the owner-artist’s paintings.”
Queenstown is booming, with builders often booked up to a year in advance, so anyone wanting to build needs to plan well ahead, says Farrell. Whilst some people may balk at the fee charged by an architect, Farrell says the investment is cost-saving in the long run.
“I’ve literally saved the value of my fee for clients in the build cost through careful management.”
It’s most important that her clients think of their home as a personal project, she says. “The successful projects are the ones where we don’t worry about resale value.”
“I want people to understand that we can do something that is really special for them. It’s where you live and how you live, and making it comfortable for you when you come home from work – rather than making an extra bathroom.”
“If you come to re-sell, other people will see the value in what you’ve done to make it special.”
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