Koru House was designed by Graham Sawell of Pyramidz Architecture.
It was awarded house of the year for the North Island and people’s choice by ADNZ (Architectural Designers of New Zealand) in 2013.
Situated to provide exceptional ocean views to the south and rural views to the north, it was built, over 6 years, by Cooper Construction, who also built the famous cinemas in Matakana amongst many other local projects and used the skills of many local craftsmen.
Brian and Lindsay met in California in 1986, where they lived until the late nineties, raising Brian’s two children. In 1997 they bought a piece of land along the ridge from the present location and a couple of years later built a house on it.
When Brian’s kids left home, (at the same time being twins), Brian and Lindsay moved full time to their house at Takatu.
Not long after, the surrounding 120 acre farm came up for sale and a proposal was put forward to have 29 houses on the farm, one of which was right in front their house.
This would have changed the character of the bay forever, so they bit the bullet and bought the farm.
They soon realized however that this was beyond their means, so sold their house to keep the land and protect it from this type of development.
Being avid conservationists they immediately started to plan restoration of the native bush and wetlands to return the unproductive part of the farm to natural habitat.
They have planted over 300,000 trees and covenanted large areas of the farm to protect it forever and have divided off 5 small parcels to help facilitate this project.
The revegetation has been very successful with rare native birds moving into these areas, from the nearby mainland island of Tawharanui. Bellbirds, Tui and Kaka are abundant, Pateke and North Island Robins have been breeding on the farm.
Brian and Lindsay lived in a shed on the farm for a while but realized they needed a home and went in search of an architect.
After visiting a number or architects in the area, (they try to keep everything local) they met Graham Sawell, immediately recognized his incredible natural talent and the project began.
What an epic it turned out to be. The global economic meltdown, Brian having very serious health issues and a major budget blowout, but they persevered and with the help of many wonderful locals they pulled it off.
They lived in the house as it was being built, starting with what is now Koru Hideaway, which was home for 18 months. Then, moving on to the guest wing of the main house and finally the master bedroom was the last to be inhabited.
Completion was a real triumph and Brian and Lindsay are now most delighted to be in the position to share this creation with guests.
In Maori tradition the koru, on which the design of the house is based, the new growth on the punga fern, represents new life.
It has certainly proved to be that.
Life and Leisure Magazine, October 2013 (pdf, 1MB)
Cover and article, March 2016.
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