The ‘Sawtooth’ house, one of Queenstown’s most striking homes, now on the market for $6,150,000, has an equally striking backstory.
In 2014, local cocktail merchant Ben De Haan was dropping off booze to a friend along a private road off Arthurs Point’s Atley Road.
A local realtor was also there, discussing listing wilding pine-infested land next door overlooking the Shotover River.
“I sprinted in front of him and said, ‘look, we’d like to buy that, give us the weekend’.”
That weekend, De Haan and his wife Tam brought over their Arrowtown mates, Assembly Architects’ Louise and Justin Wright.
Louise: “We had a little ladder and a saw and we cut down a few trees, made a window and got them to stand up and have a look at that view down to the Shotover River. They were like, ‘oh my gosh, sold’.”
After buying the 6695 square metre section, the De Haans negotiated with the Department of Conservation to build close to the cliff edge to maximise their views.
The Wrights designed a house running north/south with a corten steel sawtooth roof profile to reflect the surrounding mountains. It’s not only distinctive, but allows for five north-facing windows that let in light and heat the house.
“Tam really wanted a lot of light in the house as she’d come from quite a dark house,” Louise says.
It was also designed for stunning views to the east, over the Shotover River valley, and to the west, with sliding doors leading out from every room.
The interior is dominated by a hallway-cum-art gallery that had to be 2.2 metres wide to show off a work of art at one end.
All five bedrooms come off the hallway.
Though it’s a spacious 422sqm, Ben says repetitive elements made the building process quicker, and therefore cheaper.
Local builder Russell Hall, of Nevis Group, completed the house in only eight months.
It includes a large open-plan kitchen/living area that’s ideal for entertaining, and a small office and gym. There’s also a large outdoor area, including a tennis court, swimming pool, BBQ and outdoor seating. There’s consent, too, for a 175sqm guesthouse.
Assembly Architects won an award for its design at the New Zealand Institute of Architects Southern Architecture Awards this year. It can’t go on to the national finals, however, as Louise is the convenor of this year’s awards. As a result Louise and Justin will resubmit it next year.
The De Haans are reluctantly selling up to move to Auckland for personal and business reasons.
Ben says: “There’s no other house this size with this amount of flat land with a tennis court and swimming pool with views like this that’s seven minutes from town.
“To get this feeling of space you’d have to go to Dalefield – which is another 20 bucks by taxi.”
Listing agent Terry Spice, of Arrowtown-based Luxury Real Estate NZ, says it’s “one of the strongest architectural pieces I’ve ever seen constructed in this area”. He’s very confident about this end of the market, he adds.