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Holmes House

The Grampians, Nelson
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Some Nelson clients had purchased one of the most difficult hill sites left in town, the highest site still available on the Grampians hill with great views over the Nelson South area but also high enough to get excellent views to Nelson Haven and Tasman Bay beyond. They engaged me to design their new home but also to design an access drive so the home and garage could be reached from the existing right of way many metres below. Quite a challenge but by curving the alignment a couple of times to lengthen the drive as much as possible, we were able to achieve a compliant gradient with moderate earthworks and retaining walls. Such an endeavour though, ate considerably into the building budget.

Another challenge was achieving a passive Solar Home on this north west facing site; the solution being to snipe off a large corner of the main living spaces at 45 degrees - this not only gave us a perfect north aspect but also the best view aspect. To provide the necessary thermal mass I proposed a suspended concrete slab floor in the main living spaces, supported on an engineer designed timber floor structure. This polished concrete slab floor is insulated underneath with thick polystyrene fitted between the joists. A pitched ceiling and patio/deck access finish the living space very well indeed. Upper level cladding is locally grown and milled heart redwood bevelback weatherboard while the basement level was left with unfinished stack bond natural concrete masonry.

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