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accent pillow case baby floor This New Plymouth new-build is just 18 square metres - sofa pillow covers
Updated: 2019-09-24 11:24

Put off by the damp, cold houses they could afford, a New Plymouth duo decided to put their money into a very small, very special new-build

Natalie Kennaugh and Zara Losch had been living in the United Kingdom, but in 2013 decided to head to New Zealand (a homecoming for Kiwi Natalie) and make their home in New Plymouth.

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Recalling their search for somewhere to buy, Zara comments drily, “We saw the price of a lot of houses, and we saw a lot of cold and damp.” As a result, they made the brave decision to build instead – and go tiny. “It felt accessible from a money perspective and we didn’t want a big mortgageaccent pillow case baby floor,” Zara explains.

They found a back section on the slopes of the Huatoki Valley, with lovely views and only a 15-minute walk from town. They got it for “a great price”, says Natalie, “because no one could imagine putting anything on such a steep site – but tiny homes work!”

After considerable thought, they chose to have two separate buildings, each 18 square metres, with a similar footprint to a shipping container but with higher ceilings. One is their?home, The Nest. The other, about eight metres away, is their guest room, which they also rent out on Airbnb, and use as an extra living space. “Half of it is essentially a porch and we love eating at the bar table and enjoying a different view,” says Zara. This second dwelling is called The Matchbox.

Without wanting to sound cheesy, we’ve created a healthy, affordable, life-giving, beautiful home which has given us such an adventure along the way

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Small doesn’t mean there is no room for style. Warm ply, colourful cushions and artwork make for a welcoming, relaxed feel. Neat ideas include a wall unit with pull-up dining table, while elevating the kitchen has allowed for storage drawers in the floor.

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The shelving height in the kitchen was determined by the food items, products and kitchenware it needed to house. The sink is covered when not in use, allowing for more bench space.

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Zara relaxes with her guitar in their cosy bedroom.

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Put off by the damp, cold houses they could afford, New Plymouth duo Natalie Kennaugh and Zara Losch decided to put their money into a very small, very special new-build.

Here, Zara relaxes with her guitar in their cosy bedroom.

Their property features two separate buildings, each 18 square metres, with a similar footprint to a shipping container but with higher ceilings. One is their home, the other (eight metres away) is their guest room, which doubles as an extra living space.

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The Nest’s bathroom is 900mm wide by 2.4 metres and features one of the smallest toilets in New Zealand. “Every centimetre counts,” says Natalie, although the shower is a conventional size. A framed Andy Warhol prints graces the bathroom wall.

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Natalie enjoys hammock time in the Matchbox’s porch.

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The porch’s bar table is well utilised and a good place to sit and survey their domain, Natalie jokes.

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Looking into the Matchbox from the roomy covered porch.

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Natalie demonstrates how the stairs leading from the bedroom to the bathroom offer another perfect storage space. When not in use, the bed slides away into the cavity beneath the elevated bathroom. The bathroom entry is at the top of the stairs.

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The view from the bedroom/living hub out to the porch.

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The exterior of The Nest features vertical corrugated metal plus thermally modified pine (heat-treated rather than chemical-treated).

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Words by: Monique Balvert-O’Connor. Photography by: Jane Dove Juneau.

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