Designing small spaces is a challenge. And getting them right on a tight budget is tough. But it can be done with the right client, design and masterplan.
We’ve proved it at Kerepeti: two Context designed neighbourhoods Uku and Kerewhenua delivering 208-homes between them because our clients: Ngāi Tahu Property, NZ Super Fund and New Ground Capital, believe in medium-density housing as fervently as we do.
The homes that prove it’s possible, part of a range of one to three-bedroom apartments and up to four-bedroom terrace homes, are about to welcome their new owners. We visited Uku last week for final checks on a terrace of eight 74 sq metre houses.
From the road they are smart and substantial. Clad in red-brick veneer – a hardy low-maintenance material – each house sits on a laneway. The laneway creates a strong relationship between houses and the street, building a sense of community. And there’s enough variety to make each house read as individually owned, but also part of a coherent collection.
Inside, ground-floor living areas have an extra 30cm headroom over the standard 2.4 metres – a clever piece of HLC rulemaking. A half room-width wall separates the living room from the kitchen without boxing it off, a counter-intuitive solution in this open-plan era that works well with the room volumes.
The staircase to the two good-sized bedrooms is lit by a high window and a skylight. Windows have minimal visible frames to maximise the light they draw in. And the hallway laundry cupboard has a roller shutter to make the most of the space.
Best of all, they’re affordable. As part of HLC’s Axis Series – a programme that gives average-income earners a way to own their own home – they’re priced at $550,000 and only available by ballot to people who meet Axis criteria.
We salute the foresight of our clients and HLC, and wish the new owners of these smart, liveable homes well.