Steve and Lynn’s slice of country in suburbia

09 Jun 2016

Getting the feel and feature of a rural lifestyle property with only a typical-sized suburban plot to play with – that was the challenge facing designer Steve Birkhead of Integrating Architecture when planning his own home.

But not only has he risen to the challenge (complete with a mini vineyard) but he announced it to the world by painting the exterior of the house in uncompromising Resene Pioneer Red.

He and wife Lynn are now very happy in their new home, a place that they wanted to be able to relax, and put into play some of their green principles.

Lynn (officially ‘the client’) tells us about the house:

What was the philosophy behind the design of the house?

We had a 603 sqm section, but wanted to bring a rural feel to the house – a clean, uncluttered aesthetic, something a little different in suburbia.

Steve was inspired by the typical rural shed profile, and we wanted it to wrap around a courtyard. He’s achieved the best sun orientation possible on a small site so that the house is sunny and light.

Here’s our wish list:

We wanted to have the good things about a lifestyle block without the hassle
Privacy from the neighbours
A rural feeling – the ‘look’ and the ‘outlook’
Be environmentally friendly
Have birdlife and possibly bees
Not have to manicure the garden in order to enjoy it
Experience the seasons
Grow something you can eat
Not have to be precious about the buildings or how we live in the house
It had to be sunny

What Resene colours did you use?

For the exterior, Steve chose only colours that have a higher LRV, which stands for Light Reflectance Value. Black has a light reflectance value of 0% and absorbs all light. The surfaces are consequently very dark and can get very hot. In contrast, white has a light reflectance value of 100% and keeps a building light and cool. All colours fit within these two extremes.

Resene Pioneer Red has a surprisingly good LVR, and is the kind of true oxide red found on old rural buildings.

He also chose Resene Gull Grey and Resene Black White. Part of the roof is also in Pioneer Red (COLORSTEEL).

Inside, we wanted light, warm colours so went with Resene Black White and Resene Half Stonehenge along with some Resene wallpapers.

We didn’t want a prescribed ‘style’ but rather something quite eclectic and flexible.

What are you most pleased with?

I love the simple layout of the house. There’s no wasted space, it feels spacious and is easy to live in, with a flexible internal layout.

The only rooms that don’t face the courtyard are the utility rooms, and there are no internal passages.

We love being able to have three rows of grape vines, and having solar power, solar hot water and rainwater collection. We’ve been able to manage costs and use green technologies. 

What was the biggest challenge?

Getting the kitchen design right, and ensuring the house aesthetic was not too industrial or cold.

And your advice?

Choose the designer carefully! Break the rules. Be adventurous. Marry the architect.

designer Integrating Architecture   

contractor GEMCO Construction

kitchen design Bridget Geenty Design

Do you have a home full of wonderful Resene paint and colour? Send us some snaps by emailing editor Sharon Newey on [email protected].

red, exterior, rural, grey

Resene Pioneer Red brings a rural aesthetic to the house, along with simple shed-like forms. Other colours used are Resene Gull Grey and Resene Black White. 

Looking past the grapevines and the outdoor fireplace, it’s hard to believe you’re in the suburbs. 

Bringing a bit of greenery inside, the wallpaper in the living room is from the Just Like It collection from Resene ColorShops.

A faux fabric wallpaper is used on the main bedroom headboard wall, and was from the Caravaggio collection from Resene ColorShops. 

Resene Black White walls keep the guest bedroom light and fresh.

A splashback with a difference. Steve and Lynn chose a Resene wallpaper from the Manhattan range behind glass on their kitchen splashback.

Resene Half Stonehenge is used to define the doorways and trims in this hall-less layout. The walls are Resene Black White.

An enclosed courtyard, grapes, a pebble rill in the concrete, and a couple of (corrugated iron) sheep. It’s the country life. 

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Resene Black White

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Resene Gull Grey

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Resene Half Stonehenge

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Resene Pioneer Red

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the look

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colour to use or need colour
advice, try out the Resene
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Resene Black White

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Resene Gull Grey

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Resene Half Stonehenge

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Resene Pioneer Red

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the look

If you're stuck on what
colour to use or need colour
advice, try out the Resene
Ask a Colour Expert service.