A meeting of the elements with an Escea Fire

When it came time to build their dream home, this Christchurch couple, who have a background in the hospitality industry, knew that it had to be designed with entertaining in mind.

A meeting of the elements with an Escea Fire

They found the perfect section, and removed the old house on it to make way for their new build. “It was beautiful, like the Botanic Gardens, with huge flowering cherries and even palm trees,” they explained. Retaining as many trees as possible, they enlisted the help of Darren O’Neil of O’Neil Architects to design a two storey home that was light and spacious, with the kitchen at its heart.

A meeting of the elements with an Escea Fire

A floating blonde wooden staircase with glass sides connects the two storeys and emphasises the light feeling of the space.

A meeting of the elements with an Escea Fire

Upstairs, all four bedrooms – each with an en suite – look out over the treetops and into the garden below. No detail has been spared, with marble bowl sinks and rain style showers in every bathroom.

A meeting of the elements with an Escea Fire

Downstairs, the kitchen drops down to a sunken living area, which actually sits below water level. A feature like this isn’t something most people would insist on in a post-earthquake city like Christchurch, but for the owners of this spectacular home, the experience of stepping down into a den-like living room was essential. The original 2010 plan also included a pool built hard up against the lounge so that the water lapped the windows, but after the quake it didn’t seem such a safe idea. “In the end we abandoned the pool idea but kept the connection between the lounge and the water” they explained. They opted for a pond which sits safely below the level of the lounge, and wraps itself around two sides of the house.

A meeting of the elements with an Escea Fire5

Outside, the garden is small but cleverly designed to fully utilise every bit of space. A deck leads out from the main living room, where an automatic louvre roof can be opened for outdoor entertaining whatever the weather. The couple eat here often and plan to install a teppanyaki plate. “We put all the elements we could possibly want into the house and garden” they said. A concrete walkway meanders between the pond and a pocket sized lawn, and leads out to a pergola in which outdoor couches are placed for quiet relaxation.

Outside, the garden is small but cleverly designed to fully utilise every bit of space. A deck leads out from the main living room, where an automatic louvre roof can be opened for outdoor entertaining whatever the weather. The couple eat here often and plan to install a teppanyaki plate. “We put all the elements we could possibly want into the house and garden” they said. A concrete walkway meanders between the pond and a pocket sized lawn, and leads out to a pergola in which outdoor couches are placed for quiet relaxation.

A meeting of the elements with an Escea Fire

With the water from the pond, the garden’s earth, and the light and airy atmosphere of the house, the only element that was missing was fire; and so the couple installed not one, but four Escea gas fireplaces throughout their home. Designed to heat small rooms and add ambience, the ST900 is a perfect model to heat a bedroom. The owners installed these in two of the bedrooms, and with the zero clearance rating of the ST900 they were able to safely fit a TV above each fireplace.

Rich tan and chocolate shades give a sense of elegance and warmth to the main living room that comes off the kitchen. Thick wooden shelves give the room crisp clean lines, which continue in the wide mantelpiece that sits above the fire. A dark classic fireplace Fascia in Volcanic Black with Black Coals adds to the masculine theme of the room, and a concrete floating hearth makes a weighty impact.

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