This small treetop house might not look like much from the outside, but step inside and you’ll be floored by its jaw-dropping views. Architect Andrew Simpson of WireDog Architecture designed the Island Bay House using Japanese-inspired principles that make the small interior feel spacious and beautiful. Located just outside Wellington, the 538-square-foot jewel of a dream house boasts majestic panoramic views as well as a tight energy-efficient envelope that eliminates the need for heating in winter.
When Simpson and his fiancée, Krysty Peebles, decided to build their own house, they knew they wanted something experimental. Undaunted by steep slopes, the couple purchased a small and sharply sloped plot of land with uninterrupted views across the coastal suburb of Island Bay. During the design process Simpson drew inspiration from space-saving Japanese architecture, particularly from the works of architect Makoto Masuzawa. The result is a boxy corrugated metal-clad structure with an unexpectedly airy and spacious feel achieved by a double-height interior and a fully glazed end wall.
Like Masuzawa’s houses, the Island Bay House is open plan and centers on a double-height space. Instead of a second floor, Simpson put in a mezzanine bedroom enclosed by a balustrade constructed from custom-made and space-saving wooden shelving. The undivided interior, which also includes a living area, kitchen, and study, makes the home seem larger. The west-facing wall consists of giant floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open the home up to spectacular views, natural light, and coastal breezes.
Despite the region’s cold seasonal winds, the home uses passive solar for all its heating needs in the winter. The west-facing glazed walls are oriented to capture the maximum solar heat gain in winter, while the home’s extra-thick five-and-a-half-inch-thick walls traps the heat inside. According to Dwell, Simpson’s favorite feature of the house is the white ash, used on the floors and ceilings, that was torrefied to give it a deep chocolate hue and oiled once put in place.
Images via WireDog Architecture