On a site like this, there’s no use competing with nature. Overlooking a sweeping white beach from the edge of a valley in New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula, the aptly named Clifftop House is a secluded three-storey haven that opens onto a vista of sparkling waters, majestic rock faces and lush, vivid greenery. Designed by Ponting Fitzgerald Architects, the tranquil beach home is conceived as a deftly understated private retreat that quietly celebrates its spectacular setting.
But deference is no mean feat. Creating a living space that engages with its milieu required a thoughtful approach wherein the realities and demands of family life meet natural splendour. For architect David Ponting, a carefully honed balance between functionality and pared down, pure interior detail was top of mind.
Throughout the home, simple natural finishes frame views of the outdoors, while a palette of organic tones speaks to the coastal locale. To achieve a sense of privacy while embracing the landscape, the architects created a generous overhang that covers the deck, sheltering it from the elements and deftly mitigating the concern of being on show. The home’s slight elevation above a nearby public walking track — just three metres away — also defines it as private space.
The experience of travelling upwards through the house from a minimal and enclosed entrance was influenced by the architect’s visit to the original property on the site. “I wanted to make sure that amazing sensation was experienced by anyone who went there again,” says architect David Ponting. In the new house, the arrival experience is one of being channelled through a dark, vertical stairwell with light emanating from above. Upon reaching the open-plan living area, views of the vast natural world and ocean beyond are suddenly and dramatically revealed.
Pairing dark-stained American oak cabinetry with similarly toned fixtures, fittings and appliances, the kitchen also features a seamlessly integrated refrigerator, freezer and range hood, as well as Fisher & Paykel’s innovative DishDrawer dishwasher and CoolDrawer multi-temperature storage unit behind its timber panels. Meanwhile, the clean, refined lines of the Oven and Gas and Induction Cooktop also contribute to a luxurious yet deeply considerate design, while the tactile finishes of every dial and handle make cooking an experiential delight.
Tucked behind an integrated cabinet door — which elegantly disappears into the wall — the butler’s pantry takes this notion a step further. It ensures the messier parts of food preparation remain entirely out of daily view. For Ponting, Fisher & Paykel’s distinctive combination of performance and sleek, luxuriously minimal design was pivotal to the ambiance.
“The landscape outside is so beautiful to look out on it would be a shame to have the functional reality of bowls, knives and bits of onion left over when the family is entertaining,” says Ponting. “We wanted the house to be as aesthetically enjoyable as its context, so we’ve removed the need to worry about preparation mess and created more of a social theatre with the kitchen.” The result is a space that epitomizes Ponting’s thoughtful design — and creates the stage for enjoying the splendour beyond.
This content was published by Azure on behalf of Fisher & Paykel.
In a New Zealand home by Ponting Fitzgerald Architects, Fisher & Paykel appliances enhance a luxurious sense of natural immersion.