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Home and Building, Volume 37 Number 6 (1975)

Architect's Own: Horman House

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Architect's Own: Horman House

Architect: Robert Horman & Peddle, Thorp and Walker. Owner: Mr & Mrs Robert Horman. Photographs: Vahry Photography Ltd

This new house for Mr and Mrs Robert Horman is a good point at which to start a series of reviews of Architects' own houses. Designed by Robert Horman, Partner of Peddle Thorp and Walker, Architects, the house is built on an elevated section in a quiet cul-de-sac in a new area of medium to expensive houses. The Horman house appeals largely for many of the small points of detail.

The house is basically 'L' shaped, fully insulated, with sloping ceilings throughout and all living areas overlooking Half Moon Bay near Auckland. The plan is easily interpreted — revealing the specific requirements of the family and the grouping of areas. All the main living and sleeping rooms share the common 'L' shaped patio which, in addition to the view and the sun will ultimately border a pool.

The low, 6' wide eaves to the patio permit the sun to penetrate the house page 29 during the winter months but exclude the sun during the summer, therefore keeping the house cool and at the same time cutting the glare from the sky.

The entrance, through a delightful 8' door concealed in a wall of panelling, opens to reveal the main living and dining area — spacious in itself but made apparently more so by the arched slender columns which deliberately separate the hall and the study area without establishing a rigid division. To one end of this entry is the internal access from the garage, the galley kitchen and its adjacent family area. From this informal centre opens a small, private patio and access to the laundry, bathroom and bedrooms.

The placement of the compact kitchen allows the involvement of those working there with visitors or family in the principal living areas on either side.

Turning in the other direction from the entrance the hall leads past a comfortable study to the master bedroom with its well related dressing, storage and bathrooms.

Having summarised the basic layout one point becomes obvious — the house was designed by a professional to work, without being ostentatious.

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And work it does whilst achieving a quiet impression of careful planning, attention to design detail and ultimately a relaxed atmosphere.

From the striking white of the living area to the subdued colour of the hall in all directions the selection of colours has been deliberate and effective.

The master bedroom suite reveals many items of detail — the narrow vertical glass running from floor up to and following the sloping ceiling; the continuation of the arched effect from the main hall and the dressing area with its abundant storage through which access is gained to a well-equipped bathroom. This private bathroom features floor to ceiling glass which opens on to a delightfully planted courtyard, screened by a high brick wall, thus providing a garden outlook while maintaining privacy.

The kitchen, like all rooms opening on the patio, is shielded from the glare by a 6' wide low overhang which continues the sloping ceiling line from inside. Compact and occupying a minimum of floor area, the kitchen introduces a clean line in the design of the fittings themselves through the successful use of a small mosaic and leather-look laminated plastic cupboard fronts.

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Returning to the first impression — the living area with its shag pile carpet, white walls and sloping ceilings lends itself to the inclusion of some delightful individual touches — original paintings, well chosen contemporary light fittings and carefully selected pieces of furniture with a substantial open fireplace as a major focal point.

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