Kowhai House

Set in a rural Paradise

Kowhai House maximises its unique setting

Kowhai House sits on the crest of a hill, overlooking valleys with Mount Taranaki and the Kaitake Ranges in a direct line of sight and the Tasman Sea in the distance. With its views in all directions, this home maximises the experience of the green hues of this undulating rural Taranaki site.

Reflecting the owner’s artistic talent, the brief was for a highly personalised, functional home, enabling Ardern Peters Architects Ltd to pay homage to the mountainous backdrop by providing dramatic, light-filled interiors and colourful exteriors to capture the stunning landscape.

Owners Robert Crookbain and Karen Hamer provided the brief to the designers for connected rooms, an open plan that retains some separate spaces, wide corridors for the circulation spaces and an uncluttered, elegant and light home.

Kowhai House has three bedrooms, two living spaces and a home office with abundant framed viewpoints and sheltered outdoor spaces. The high performance, low maintenance home achieves the project team’s objectives for climate control, energy efficiency and value engineering features.

Nestling the home in its unique environment, the roof form and use of bold colours provide a strong silhouette along the ridgeline. Featuring a singular, asymmetrical roof with a consistent ridgeline and eaves, breaks the roof peaks. This references the mountain ranges with complex detailing to merge roof forms with the metal wall cladding, installed both vertically and horizontally to create a textured façade.

The metal wall cladding profile is Dimond® Roofing LT7 in colours Kowhai Glow and New Denim Blue while the roof features the Dimond® Roofing Veedek® profile in Tui-tuft on the roof. Both trapezoidal profiles were chosen for their sharp lines, creating strong blocks of colour and contrast of texture. Instead of being surface mounted, the rainwater heads have been incorporated into the fascia line.


Sustainability and innovative materials

Ardern Peters Architects have enhanced the building environment on this rural home by optimising energy-efficient systems, undertaking environmental modelling and life cycle value engineering, leading to construction embracing the client’s need for a fully thermally broken concrete slab to multi-layered envelope insulation.

These special features for the Kowhai House include:

  • Highly insulated house to maximise thermal performance, including multi-layered ceiling insulation
  • A custom, fully thermally isolated floor slab to prevent thermal bridging
  • Wireless-smart technology to monitor building performance
  • Deep eave overhangs sized from solar modelling to limit summer sun and to maximise solar gain in winter
  • Hopper-type window system as part of effective cross ventilation
  • Interior thermally isolated to the exterior: floor slab, wall and ceiling systems, aluminium joinery and high-performance glazing
  • Perforated ceiling – acoustics
  • Low maintenance materials
  • Hydronic heat pump sourced underfloor heating


Owners, Robert and Karen, love the peaked and triangular windows along the bedroom corridor, providing a tall view of Mt Taranaki – when it shows itself. They’ve also loved viewing fantastic rainbows, stars and cloud-scapes from their elevated location.

Yet more rewarding features are the grass-green doors along the bedroom corridor, the acoustic ply ceiling in the living space and the white roof–sitting satisfyingly well above the coloured metal walls.