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The Bach that JK Built

For rugby great and keen surfer Sir John Kirwan, Waihi holds a special place in his heart. “I’ve been going there all my life. It’s like my spiritual home,” he says.

When he decided to rebuild his family bach, located just 100 yards from Waihi Beach, he wanted to create something comfortable and practical using materials that would withstand the coastal elements, so future generations could enjoy the simple life at the beach. “As I get a bit older I’m trying to go minimalistic. You don’t need a lot. This place is one storey, four bedrooms off the hallway and a wet room for my surfing.”

Kirwan engaged architectural designer Chris Tate to design the bach, which is clad in COLORSTEEL FlaxPod Matte, a subdued, textural finish. The matte finish was something both Tate and Kirwan agreed upon as key to the aesthetics of the house.

The cladding is accented with chunky fascias and Abodo timber slatted baseboards. A dune-style boardwalk runs down one side of the home, accessing the large rear deck.

For Tate, the use of COLORSTEEL helped to ensure this was a simple, low maintenance and quintessentially New Zealand building that ticked all his client’s boxes for a ‘surfer’s bach’. “It’s cladding that represents New Zealand — very much a New Zealand look. We have had corrugated steel buildings for the last 150 years,” says Tate. “It’s bulletproof and it looks sharp.”

Tate worked closely with Kirwan to get a clear interpretation of what he wanted from his bach. Kirwan has a love of steel, with the house not only clad in COLORSTEEL FlaxPod Matte, but also built with NZ Steel AXXIS Steel framing. The strength and spanning capability of the locally made steel frames meant the ability to create wide-open spaces was a reality for Tate and Kirwan. With steel being impervious to mould growth, Kirwan was particularly keen to use AXXIS framing to ensure a healthy home was built.

Internally, a key feature of the bach, is Kirwan’s wet room, “basically a proper wet zone where you can come in directly from the beach and go straight to the shower,” says Tate. “The laundry is there, surfboards can be stored, it’s quite a functional entry with a big utility space to walk through. And then it's like a villa with a hallway down the middle and rooms spilling off, with living, kitchen and dining at the end.”

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