By TRACEY ROXBURGH
A labour of love — and a project to see what might be possible — has netted Queenstown architect Stacey Farrell a national award, for the second consecutive year.
Last year Farrell won the Home magazine’s Green Home of the Year award for The Coast House, in the Catlins — this month she won the same award for her own Arthurs Point home, dubbed ‘The Black House’.
Built in two stages, the first was a one-bedroom ‘little house’, which was an experiment in ‘‘what we could do and what we liked’’, with the future front of mind.
‘‘We always had the idea that when … the time came we could build the larger house next door and rent out the little house … and then the little house can just evolve for family to come and live in and then, eventually, our caregivers.
‘‘When we started this project, Queenstown certainly wasn’t set up for aged care … we always thought that by the time that stage of our lives arrived we’d hopefully be mortgage-free and be able to have caregivers in the little house and they’re right there.
‘‘This is our forever home.’’
When it came time to build ‘‘the big house’’, separated from the little house with a split down the middle of the property, Farrell says they moved to passive house construction
methods, with tweaks.
‘‘I think passive house is amazing but we were quite site-specific in our design, and in Arthurs Point the power goes off many times a year, so you have to factor that in,’’ Farrell says.
A woodburner was installed and, while passive house has a focus on air tightness and is designed more for city living, ‘‘I wanted to be able to have a lot of window opening’’.
Farrell says she’s ‘‘pretty stoked’’ to have taken out the Green Home two years running, particularly given she’s not passive house certified, but ‘‘I just try’’.
‘‘It’s not all about one thing, it’s about everything and it’s holistic … I don’t think that being ‘eco’ is building a really, really big house but doing everything you can to have low heating bills.
‘‘I think it’s a really holistic approach, thinking about everything, all of those decisions, and it’s like life, you can’t win every thing, but you can do the best you can and try in
every design decision you’re making.’’
Meantime, fellow local architect Anna-Marie Chin won Home’s Home of the Year, and $10,000, for Arrowtown’s Terrace Edge House, designed for the home owners who wanted a holiday house they could possibly retire in.