When Evelyn McNamara began work on the 'Emahouse Waiheke' she wanted to create a design that was easily duplicable and able to be built anywhere in New Zealand. Initially conceived as a holiday home for the designer herself, it needed to accommodate two bedrooms and a functional living area that extended into the nearby nature, as the most simple, spatially-efficient home possible. At just 76m², key services such as the kitchen, laundry and bathroom are located in the central core of the home, with bedrooms to one side and the living space to the other. The bedrooms and living space each open via bi-fold doors out to large decks and the beautiful surrounding native bush, creating a seamless flow between indoors and out.
As well as making the most of the available space, McNamara chose materials that reflected her aesthetic — beautiful and textured to give the simple space a sense of quality and refinement. Her desire was to shape the home like furniture, providing a warm and welcoming effect in contrast with the usual glossy, metallic textures one might usually associate with the kitchen space. Trade Essentials Strandboard was used to replicate the texture of the ponga tree trunks in the surrounding bush. Stained black, it offered a soft matt texture that helped to make the kitchen feel a part of its surroundings, and less like an urban kitchen. The stain echoes the monochrome palette that extends from inside the home to the exterior, mirroring the dark tree trunks and the light sky above.
Made in New Zealand, Strandboard is an environmentally preferable choice, backed by an independent BRANZ certification. Declared as 'Red List Free' in the Declare database, Strandboard is suitable for Living Building Challenge projects and others where product ingredient transparency is important. Made from renewable pine forests and manufactured using pMDi resin, Strandboard produces exceptionally low formaldehyde emissions (E0) and contributes to both Green Star (MAT-3, MAT-4, MAT-6) and Homestar (MAT-1, MAT-2) credits, providing peace of mind as well as an appealing interior look.
Designed as a cost-effective solution for clients, the home could be transported to almost any site and replicated with ease. Winner of the Trends International Design Award for New Zealand Architect Designed Kitchens, this black on black kitchen demonstrates that structural products can have form and function in today's best designs.
Design: Evelyn McNamara, EMA Architects Ltd
Construction: Finn Glengarry, Glenbuild Ltd
Project: ‘Emahouse’, easily duplicable holiday home, Waiheke Island
Products used: Trade Essentials Strandboard
Photography: Jeremy Toth