Tag Archives: house

Building up a steep hill

In honour of a conversation with a friend this morning, I’ve been looking at awesome houses on impossibly steep sections. Steep sites can be scary. Excavation, engineering, expensive, eeekkk! But what about exciting, or endless possibility? And even less expensive than you thought?

Pole houses used to be ugly. Now they are award-winning and they have lots of good-looking friends. Like these ones…


Clockwise from top left:

Mediterrani 32 by Barcelona-based Daniel Isern – this one looks like you could climb it like a tree. Probably feels like that inside too with it’s pretty bush outlook from every room.

Portugal’s Tolo House – kind of farfetched looking from this point of view. Beyond that ‘park your car on top of your house’ slab the house tumbles down the hill – impressive!

Pianists retreat in Austria – that view… Mountain mist looks better when you get nearly 360° of it.

Container in a tree – shipping containers are a bit obligatory in a steep site house round up. No idea about the location or designer of this one but it gets an extra star for being a treehouse as well.

Dogbox by Patchwork Architecture – a newly completed Kiwi DIY project. Nothing short of ingenius, at NZ$180k plus labour. Totally amazing.

Anyone know of a cheap steep section? I could be tempted…

Memory Lane

This is Memory Lane in Tokyo. It’s a little slice of old Japan, but it’s bars give it another, far less romantic name.

I’ve been taking a walk down Memory Lane at the Duck Egg Blue house today – the Befores page is now a Before & Progress page. Thanks for the memories li’l house, and thanks in advance for the memories still to come!

Small spaces: Japanese angles

Through necessity, the Japanese have developed a very refined style of “small spaces”. I could stare at houses like this all day long.

An odd shaped site in Tokyo pushed the design of this house well outside the normal box. I have so much admiration for architects who can have such a vision within a truly challenging brief. Hats off to Mizuishi Architect Atelier.

The interior feels surprisingly uncluttered despite appearing to house a family and accommodating a fully functional kitchen.

Found at Dornob where there is loads more information and pictures.

No more apricot

You’ve had sneak peeks, you’ve had teasing comments, and you’ve had to wait far too long.

Finally I have some before and afters of our (now) not so freshly painted exterior. I’ll leave it to the photos to make my apologies for the delay.0206_62910206_62900206_4217

The colour scheme is a wee bit bespoke (picture me with my nose in the air)…

We picked Resene colours, but our painter used Dulux paint… Back when we still had an apricot house we painted up a patch by the back door, and decided on Resene White for the windows and doors, Resene Eighth Friar Grey for the sills, gutterboards and baseboards, and Resene Half Concrete for the walls. However… the further the painter got with that the more my gut feeling said “stop him, stop him now!” I just knew if I didn’t I’d be forever annoyed… so stop him I did. The problem was there was no noticeable difference between the white of the windows and the Half Concrete of the walls. I took a bit of a punt and asked him to get a custom mix of Three Quarters Concrete. I didn’t want to go grey, but it needed to be just that little touch darker, to make the windows pop a bit. Bam!

If you need a painter in Auckland, Nick’s the man. He never complained, he accommodated sleeping children, was tolerant of my fear of dust in the house, and he was Cheap. CHEAP. One downside… it took weeks. His work days are a bit haphazard, and 4pm was a late knockoff. But one must overlook such things when ones self is no better. Shhh!


Yellow front door? Not so sure actually… it might be shortlived. And that doormat… time to go.


Apricot or apricots?

I love apricots, there’s nothing lovelier than sweet apricots in season.

Apricot though, I don’t love in most of its forms. Especially on our house.

It almost looks acceptable in this photo, but it must be a trick of the light.

All I can think is that the previous owners got a good deal on this particular shade of apricot – the outside is painted head to toe gutters to baseboards in it, and some of the windows are even painted shut with it. Nasty stuff!

We had planned to paint the house one day, but with all that has been going on inside, it wasn’t much more than a passing thought until we decided the other day to get it done by a pro. We had a guy come and take a look on Saturday so hope to hear from him soon…

Back in – What?! A whole year ago?! (I just checked the date on the photos) – April last year I got all enthused and tried out some paint samples.

A whole year ago… I obviously thought our house would be painted by now. Even though life teaches us over and over that everything (especially renovation) takes longer than you expect we still remain optimistic!

Here are the boards (dragged back out of the pile destined for the rubbish after the great garage clear out) leaning up against our apricot house:

As you can see we’re not being adventurous… at all! This house has had enough of adventurous, going by the glimpses of teal green under the apricot, and is ready for something a little more true to its nature.

In case you’re wondering about the way I’ve painted up the sample boards, let me explain. Each board has two different strengths of a main (walls) colour, which is the bigger patches. Then, each trim colour is shown next to each other, and next to the wall colour. Which is why there are three stripes of one trim colour and two of the other. Every colour appears next to every other colour in order to check contrast and depth without other distracting colours between. Note this is for a three colour scheme.

I whipped out the test pots again and got my painting t-shirt and leggings on (this photo is actually to show I’m not just the photographer, sometimes I actually do some real work):

This little area is right by our back door, and can’t be seen from the street, and with a window there it was a good place to test out our “3 colour” scheme.

Here’s a before shot (we don’t style our shots around here… artfully placed jumble of shoes and boots that is not) of the apricot-y-ness of our back “porch”:

And we painted a wee patch with the colours we liked from the sample boards. Resene Half Concrete for the walls, White for the windows and Eight Friar Grey for the windowsill.

What we noticed straight away (and you might have too?) is how much lighter the colours appear when they’re up on the wall, and the contrast between them seems minimal. Take a look at the sample boards sitting on the step. Somehow the colours look much stronger on that small, defined area. So we may well pick different colours, but now we have a starting point.

Here’s a closeup of our test patch without any distracting mess of boots, firewood and test pots, or the aforementioned apricotness:

Aaah, much better than this:

I also had a go in Photoshop to get an idea of how it would look in a more complete view:

Andre looked over my shoulder and muttered about how it’s not the greatest view of our house to be trying out paint schemes on. I had to agree, so I got this shot of the front of the house to hone my skills on (I used to do photoshopping for a job so if you have any members of the family who need removing from otherwise favourite photos, just let me know). First up we have a rendition of our initial paint colours, with a bright lemon door:

Not super keen on the door, especially not since Andre commented that it looks like “ASB house”. They are our bank but we’re not that close.

Then I tried a blue door:

Which was fun, but not really what I’m trying to decide on right now, so back to the main house colours… here I’ve reversed the wall and window colours:

Andre quite likes this, but I prefer the white framed windows because they highlight the windows, which are “the eyes of the house” and very much the attractive feature on our house. Especially while the garden looks as sad as it does. (I’ve mentioned that “side garden wall” before… it’s getting there folks – Project Anzac Day tomorrow, let’s see how far we get with it…) Believe me, it’s much worse than it even appears in this photo – Andre’s Grandad even commented the other day after a visit to see his newest great grandchild and check up on our reno progress, “Andre doesn’t really like gardening does he?”. We actually can’t wait to get stuck into the garden and prettying up the outside but it just hasn’t been a priority, even maintaining the weeds is way down low on the list!

This one has the windowsills, guttering and baseboards a shade darker to add some contrast:

How about darker walls?

No? What about even lighter?

I know which is my favourite. Which is yours?

I’ll be sure to let you know what we decide and when this is all going to happen – hopefully before April next year!