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The Classic Kiwi Home

By Liam O'Boyle

More iconic than the double-scoop ice cream, jandels, stubbies, or colourful wooden beehives, the classic Kiwi quarter acre is what we all dream of having. Since the beginning of the sub-divide, owning your own slice of paradise has been the aspiration of many New Zealanders.

We are a country of backyards, vege gardens, and spacious, sun-soaked decks – a land where a house by the sea isn’t just a pipe dream, and the sound of lawnmowers and barbeques sparking up is just regular weekend music.

It’s hard to put your finger on what makes a place the “classic Kiwi home.” Is it the smell of the ocean? The rustic wooden picnic table that everyone squeezes around to scoff barbequed corn still in its husk? Or the mason jars that house beach-collected stones, shells, and candles, rather than sweet fruit preserves?

It’s all of these things and more. The classic Kiwi abode comes in many shapes and sizes, but there is a collective theme the runs through every vein. It is the reflected laid-back lifestyle, the forest, the rolling landscapes, and the churning ocean that lulls us to sleep.

The Lifestyle Block
Generally speaking, the lifestyle block is located just out of town and is about one acre of land. There’s plenty of space for a large vegetable garden, fruit trees, and even a chicken coop. Many people use the extra space for livestock to graze with the end goal of filling their chest freezer. The lifestyle block is the perfect place to build a sprawling deck where you can host backyard barbeques for your friends in the summer as the setting sun turns the sky from pink and orange as the sun sets. An added benefit of the lifestyle block is privacy – maybe you’ll put in an outdoor tub so you can enjoy a glass of wine under the stars.

The Beach Bach
Few things compare to the sound of waves breaking as you wake up in the morning or drift off to sleep at night. The Kiwi beach bach has been the staple holiday home for as long as we can remember. Nowadays, it seems like more people than ever are packing up and staying at the beach permanently. The beach home is full of shells collected from the beach, the garden is littered with driftwood, and the deck is delightfully weathered by salt spray. Lanterns are made from jars and tealight candles and hang haphazardly outside on bent wire. The beach home is laidback, light and breezy, and decorated with surf boards, rustic wooden furniture, and sand.

The Suburban Villa
Found in pockets throughout our suburban neighbourhoods, the villa is a retro fanatic’s dream home. Built in the 1920s, these popular homes were thought of as being cold, drafty, and in a general state of disrepair – and many people preferred to “upgrade” to a modern home. But with intense retro resurgence that is taking our country by storm, the classic villa is getting renewed attention and a fresh dose of tender loving care. From their decorative plaster ceilings to the open fire places, villas have been renovated to provide all the modern comforts while retaining their historic feel. The suburban villa is decorated with a claw-footed bath, kitchen island – complete with a ceiling rack to hang copper-bottomed pots and pans – and window seats with oversized cushions.

Did we miss any classic kiwi homes in our list? What special touches make your home complete? We’d love to hear from you!

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