This modern Maharishi Vastu home in South Auckland is home to Peta and Joe Davy and their two sons. The home incorporates many eco friendly features encouraged by Maharishi Vastu such as natural, non-toxic materials, good solar gain, natural ventilation and solar power.
“At its northern end, it overlooks the green hillocks of the Lost Gardens, a protected area of spiritual significance. Remnants of stone mounds indicate it was once used by Maori for gardening.
Concrete floors to the north, combined with a roof pitch that captures every last drop of winter sun, means the wetback fireplace is used to supplement hot-water heating, rather than warm the house. The angle of the butterfly roof allows solar panels on the rear bedroom wing to power the hot-water system. “All four of us shower in the morning and there’s more than enough warmth to last,” Peta says. Insulation is compacted into the … walls and the double-glazing works almost too well.
“Thank goodness for the high louvre windows.”
The house was conceived as a black brick box, protected by a timber shield – a striking wooden coat made from recycled power poles. “There aren’t many people who could live with its imperfections.” Spiders and insect life find homes in the hidey holes that pock-mark the cladding’s surface. And Peta proves her devotion by oiling a section of the timber skin every weekend. “I love its colour and don’t want it to fade to grey.”
Yellow wood soffits are in keeping with her love of richly hued timbers while inside, honey-toned tawa, once in a 50s house in East Auckland, has been re-purposed as flooring, walls and on the sliding doors. The slim-line planks may not be en vogue, but they bring a fine elegance to the home.
Rescuing the unwanted is Peta’s modus operandi for keeping the budget under control, and she’s not averse to asking suppliers for cast-offs. Case in point: the veneer that now coats the kitchen cabinetry. “The company had these leaves lying around out back for 12 years!” The Japanese aesthetic of the veneer is set against a black backdrop to emphasise its colour and interlocked grain.
“We’ve ended up with a home that feels very grounded and linked to the environment.” The children walk to the local school across the paddocks of the Lost Garden, passing sheep and cows as they graze. At one point in the year the ruminants must share the field with about 2000 oyster-catchers who come to breed here. The family feels the privilege of being in such a special place so close to the city.
A pencil drawing tacked to the wall behind the dining table says it best. On it, seven-year-old Sam has written: “This is our house. I love our house. We are lucky.” “
Photography Duncan Innes