Design Review: Volume 4, Issue 3 (June-July 1952)
A House at York Bay
A House at York Bay
This is a low-cost house—at least as costs go to-day. It is for a young couple with a small son, and is built on the eastern hills overlooking Wellington Harbour at York Bay. This means glorious views, sun all day except early morning, and, of course, most of the wind that goes. As the southerly is the most objectionable, the south wall was sealed off, despite the view of the Heads.
The house is a simple rectangle in plan with one corner cut out. The central spine wall runs right up to the ridge and supports the rafters. This made it possible to eliminate page 59 ceiling joists, and to have sloping ceilings which give a greater spaciousness.
The house is clearly divided at the front entry into two separate parts — living and sleeping, which should be a good working arrangement. The living-space on the north end is fairly open—there is no door between entry and living, and the dining space is in a recess. The study, though, is cut off as a separate room, which is a pity in some ways, because had it been integrated with the rest of the living-space, the house would have gained much in spaciousness and interest. Though a separate room was the owner's wish, a low screen wall or other partial division could have provided the visual barrier required. In a lowcost house such a room is rather a luxury. How would it be to have a study alcove off the parent's bedroom? This would have a lot of area and provide the quiet needed. After all, the bedroom is in use only eight or nine hours a day. Of course, the study would be useful for a guest bedroom, though one wonders again whether the occasional guest would not be just as pleased to use a divan in a corner or alcove of the livingspace.
The relative openness of this part of the house creates a heating problem. Without a system of overall house-heating, all that can be done is to warm one room for sitting in and leave the rest. In this house, an open fire must heat hall, living and dining. A roaring fire could probably cope with this on a bitter wintry night, but it would be no problem to one of the improved form of space-heaters.
The most convenient place for eating is probably the kitchen rather than the designated dining recess. But what family does not want such a room when guests come, and for the Sunday roast? The kitchen table folds against the wall to provide space for the youngster to play when it is wet outside.
The bedrooms receive the afternoon sun and the harbour view. The main bedroom is above average size, with a bank of wardrobes and recess for a dressing-table. But its proportions prevent its full use. Where, for instance, would a chest or bank of drawers go? In a double bedroom it is usually more convenient if the greater dimension is to the side of the beds rather than at the end of them.
The furnishings shown in the illustrations are not the final articles. They were already in the possession of the owner, who intends to build new pieces to suit the house in his basement workshop.
The large sliding windows in the living-space may look costly, but are of simplified construction. The other windows are four feet by three feet. In each pair, one is top-hung and one pivoted to slide down and out. The extra wide sashes made joinery cheaper, as fewer were required.
Colour has been used well. In the living area the walls are light grey and the ceiling pink. In the dining area, the walls are pink and the ceiling grey. The wall in the hall facing the living is bright yellow. The curtains are lime green and the floor covering grey Bisonia rugs.
This is a house that should tend to raise our slowly improving standard of domestic design.