In the seaside town of Hahei, Ponting Fitzgerald Architects have created a beach house that puts nothing between its residents and the view.

scroll to main content


Situated at the base of a valley, a site with incredible views also required for privacy from surrounding houses in the popular beach town. To achieve this, the architects created a generous overhang that covers the deck, both sheltering it from the elements and mitigating the sense of being on show. The slight elevation of the house from the nearby public walking track just ten feet away also defines it as private space.

Project Type: Beach House

Location: Hahei, New Zealand

Architect: Ponting Fitzgerald Architects

Photographer: Sam Hartnett


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 channelled up through a dark, vertical stairwell with light emanating from above. Once the open-plan living area is reached, views of the vast natural world and ocean beyond are suddenly and dramatically revealed.

internal living room shot


The architects were determined not to let functional requirements overwhelm the experience of the interior. Pairing dark-stained American oak cabinetry with dark-toned fixtures, fittings and appliances, and seamlessly integrating a refrigerator freezer, rangehood, DishDrawer™ dishwasher and CoolDrawer™ behind the timber panels, they created a kitchen backdrop that is a 'stage' for entertaining. The clean lines of the 30" Built-In Oven and 36" Gas + Induction Cooktop also contribute to the recessive design. The Minimal style appliances are so adept at hiding in plain sight, says David, that, “it's almost as though the social activity of cooking, eating and drinking is magical, something that's been conjured up out of nowhere.”


Tucked behind a door that at first appears to be a wall, the butler's pantry takes this notion a step further. Housing a bench, storage space and sink, and 'twin' versions of the oven, DishDrawer™ dishwasher and refrigerator freezer, the messier parts of food preparation stay concealed. “The landscape outside is so beautiful to look out on that 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 David.

Explore The Look