The Earth House, Orewa
The earth brick house is in a delightful location, with direct access to the beach, just 50m down the shared driveway. It's a charming 2-storey home in a contemporary style, with solid 360mm earth walls, the bricks showing on the exterior but earth-plastered interior walls.
All timber used is exotic NZ-grown: poplar ceilings, macrocarpa internal walls where used (especially upstairs), macrocarpa doors and stairs, all oiled with tung oil. Exterior timber, eg eaves, is oiled with organic organ oil. There is no paint, varnish or gib board, so it's a very health house. Floors upstairs and down are concrete, making it also a very quiet house.
People remark on the 'lovely smell' when they walk in - emanating from the oiled timbers and the natural materials - and the house 'feels' good, probably because it's nontoxic!
Other special features inside include wide wooden window sills, wall display niches, leadlights in the entry door and upper lounge door, and a shell feature above the upper lounge door. The aluminium joinery features secure top window ventilation and insect screens.
The room shapes are interesting (it's not a 'box') and there are generous wardrobes/storage cupboards. It's a practical house, designed for good flow from inside to out. French doors open to the lower deck and garden from the kitchen/dining/living room, with an upper deck with sea view accessed from the lounge and main bedroom. Sandy feet from the beach come straight in on tiles from any of the entrances to the downstairs bathroom, making beach use a pleasure, not a problem! The terracotta tiles cover the kitchen, hallway, passages and bathrooms and deck door areas, mostly with underfloor heating. All other areas are wool carpeted.
Apart from the kitchen/dining/living room, the downstairs layout includes a spacious entry, generous bathroom, small bedroom, and double garage, including understairs storage, overhead storage rack (eg for suitcases/kayak), the workbench and laundry - a proper space with window and backdoor, not in a cupboard!
Upstairs is the lounge, two double bedrooms, a large, open office area (which could easily make another bedroom) and a separate semi-ensuite (toilet/washbasin). The main bedroom has a small 'office/wardrobe/sewing room' leading off (also ideal as a nursery) and is beside the main bathroom which includes a spabath and heated towel rail.
Both bathrooms have open, tiled showers and custom-built macrocarpa vanities with beautiful Australian blackwood vanity tops.
The kitchen is custom-made in macrocarpa with a bar top in polished oak. It's a delight to use and includes a dual oven, separate hob top, extractor fan and dishdrawer. The stainless steel fridge/freezer with water filter/icemaker is an optional extra.
The earth walls breathe (i.e. absorb and transmit water vapour and air) which minimises condensation, and their large thermo mass keeps the temperature variation at 2-3 degrees between seasons. Although the earth walls keep the house well insulated - cool in summer and warm in winter - there's also the underfloor heating if needed, and a wall panel gas heater in the downstairs passage and a Little Buck gas fireplace upstairs.
Outside special features include the exposed earth-washed earth bricks, virtually maintenance free; 850mm wide eaves; attractive tiled entry with volcanic rock walls; other feature volcanic rock walls in the garden, including behind the fishpond with fountain. There's a grapevine on a macrocarpa frame over the north-facing lower deck, providing shade in summer and allowing solar heating of the walls/tiles in winter.
At present the garden is not fully fenced but it would not be difficult to do. The garden is fairly low maintenance, with small lawn areas and paved pathway, potting bench and large clothesline. There's even a cold shower to wash the salt and sand off afterwalking back from your daily swim!
The roof is concrete tiles with a Nuraply flat top where the solar-powered hot water cylinder sits.
There are 2 extra car/boat parking spaces: a hardcore parking space by the front door, as well as parking adjacent to the double garage, with room for one more visitor in front of the garage.
The Earth House is second from the road, with two houses between it and the beach, and you can walk straight onto the beach down the driveway. It's a 10-minute walk to the shops and the centre of Orewa either along the road or along the beach. There's a dairy opposite for convenience and ice creams, and the bus stop is very near.
Motorway access is just 5 minutes away - with either the Orewa exit or the Silverdale exit to choose from - and it's about 15 minutes from the Albany exit, or 25 minutes from the Harbour Bridge. Warkworth is 20 minutes north.
There are 2 regional parks nearby (Shakespear and Wenderholme) and the Waiwera hot pools just up the road.
If you would like any more information about the house, please contact us.
This house is for sale - offers around $820,000 or by negotiation.