The Great Kiwi Bach

The Great Kiwi Bach add

Kiwis love the outdoors - whether it’s relaxing at the beach, mountain biking in summer, or hitting the slopes in the winter. No matter the season, we're eager to make the most of the unique lifestyle New Zealand has to offer.

Our baches form a big part of this, whether you're lucky enough to own one, rent one from time to time, or borrow your friend's getaway pad for the odd weekend, baches are an important part of our culture.

Mostly small, baches are homes away from home. They don't need the extra storage space, large bedrooms or extra heating that we generally have in our everyday houses. They're usually simple, low-maintenance constructions that can be visited whenever a holiday is needed, and left unattended until a getaway is required again.

Maurice Regeer of MnM Design Ltd is a professional member of ADNZ and is definitely known for his bach designs. A regular ADNZ award winner for his holiday homes, he sees them as an opportunity to be adventurous with design.

"With baches, people often accept far more from a designer than they would for their house. They tend to use materials and colours they wouldn't normally consider using. We did one that had an orange front door and more orange colouring throughout the interior. It’s great to do that kind of stuff with a bach" says Maurice.

Maurice has designed about eight baches around Ohakune, mostly for snow-lovers who take advantage of their holiday spots in the winter months. He's won regional awards in the ADNZ | Resene Architectural Design Awards and has been a finalist twice for his baches "Stargazer" and "Magnolia Bach". While baches are generally small, Maurice says this doesn't mean they need to be lacking in creativity. In fact, he says their size creates the chance to find innovative ways to make the most of a smaller area.

"You're designing somebody's dream holiday destination - they don’t live there full-time, so it needs to be a lock-up and go situation. With baches you're usually ok with less, as long as it's designed well. You don't need massive storage or wardrobes, you just need to find clever ways to create space."

While baches present creative opportunities, Maurice says it's also important to consider the structure's surrounds. As holiday destinations, baches should be all about transition between the indoors and outdoors.

"One of the main things is embracing the outdoors. No matter what you do, if it's close to the sea, the lake, or the mountains, it's always associated with the outdoors. If it does that then I think that makes it a successful bach," says Maurice.

When considering building a bach it's important to also think about energy efficiency. Maurice says extra insulation and a wood fire can often avoid the need for heating, and the use of LED lights can mean cheaper power bills.

"An obligation that we as designers need to stick to is that every house needs to be as energy efficient as possible, and with baches this is especially important. I try to make baches as eco-friendly as I can, they're well insulated and have appliances with good energy ratings."

In terms of energy saving, Maurice says the orientation of the building is the most important factor, with the heat of the sun being used as a means of passive heating.

For Maurice, one of the most rewarding parts of designing baches is seeing the enjoyment his clients get out of them.

"It's great seeing photos on the fridge and in family albums of them having a good time and using the bach as designed."

Check out photos of Magnolia Bach and Stargazer above!