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It’s what’s on the inside that (also) counts

 It’s what’s on the inside that (also) counts

From the outside, the Meridian First Light house is a thing of wooden beauty. Cast your eyes skyward and you’ll see the solar panels on top, immediately alluding to the house’s energy savvy principals. But what about what’s on the inside? In its latest blog, the First Light team explains how the the challenge of limited space brought out the team's crafty and  innovative streak.

We often refer to the Meridian First Light house as a Kiwi bach, but as many people have pointed out, it’s pretty high-tech for a bach. While the house’s architecture inspiration came primarily from the notion of the Kiwi bach, we’ve also worked hard to bring the holidaying social lifestyle to everyday living in the bach.           

The bach lifestyle comes through strongly in the interior layout and design of the house, which was intended to make living in the house as enjoyable and comfortable as possible. The house was designed to create multifunctional, flexible social spaces that can be transformed to suit the owner. 

The central section of the house, containing the kitchen and dining area, formed the central area around which the house was designed. This space can be transformed depending on the season and the number of people in the house. Large bi-fold doors open up on either side to extend the living space out onto the decking. This central section has an internal deck flooring that creates a natural flow to the outdoors. 

Making the spaces truly adaptable and functional took a little imagination from the team and we designed unique furniture to help transform the pockets of space that were available. Students from Victoria University designed custom-built furniture units for the kitchen, lounge and study, which were then brought to life by Jones and Sandford and Cooper Furniture and Joinery. 

In the kitchen and dining area we have a large concrete table made from Flexus Reids bendable concrete. The table comfortably seats eight but a movable bench unit can be pulled out to extend the seating and cooking space. 

Concrete table with bench unit

The team wanted to keep the open bach feel by having the living, dining and sleeping areas as one large space. By the same token, we wanted to create privacy for the bedroom area. The solution came via a self-contained study unit that was designed to form a partial partition.  The unit provides storage on the bedroom side along with a fold down desk and study storage on the dining room side of the unit. 

Although the house has been designed with a couple in mind, we didn’t want the size of the house to limit the owners’ ability to entertain guests. The piece of furniture that really exemplifies transformation of spaces is the custom-built furniture unit in the living area. As a lounge piece, the unit works as a couch with ample storage. If guests come to stay the couch is pulled out to reveal a double bed, while the wall behind the couch can also be pulled back to reveal a kids bunk bed.

The process of finding space saving solutions has resulted in furniture units that are attractive, unique and innovative designs in their own right.

Hidden bunk revealed. PHOTOGRAPHY: LEAP AUSTRALASIA

Study unit. PHOTOGRAPHY: PAUL HILLER@VICTORIA UNIVERSITY

Living area with custom-built furniture unit. PHOTOGRAPHY: PAUL HILLER@VICTORIA UNIVERSITY

More blogs from the First Light team

First Light house gets hammered (under auction)

First Light house floats in the middle of the ocean

When everything falls apart, you put it back together

Visitors swarm through First Light house as team gears up for US journey 

Speed is of the essence as First Light house makes its Wellington debut 

Construction ‘n’ Technology 

Walls, floors, roofs and insulation: Solar bach build kicks off 

We want woolly walls 

A journey of miniature proportions 

Take a 3D tour through First Light’s solar bach 

Getting excited about solar design 

Practice makes perfect 

New Zealand natives in Washington DC 

An actively passive house 

What’s in a name?  

A team explosion (of size) 

Showcasing Kiwi lifestyle to the world 

How do you ship a house from Wellington to Washington?