Southern stunner

Undaunted by challenge, Dan Gallagher started building this Lake Tekapo holiday home in the dead of winter. “We had snow, torrential rain, extreme wind, blistering sun, and to overcome all these during one build was a credit to our team,” he says.

Few things about the process were straightforward. Excavation was a huge hurdle. Diggers excised tremendous tranches of earth, and contractors paid special attention to tying the new home to the landscape by incorporating giant natural rocks that were locally sourced.

The aquamarine waters of Lake Tekapo are reflected in the contemporary home’s full-height windows, which required heavy equipment to install. “The north-facing windows had to be craned and set in place, which was a first for us,” says Dan. The giant indoor fire also needed a mechanical helping hand. “We had some very skilled crane operators who managed to crane in all the gib without damaging the exterior cladding.”

The cladding came away unscathed, leaving clean lines that dazzle throughout this four-bedroom stunner. The owner envisioned a timeless home that embodies the rugged beauty of South Canterbury. “We were trying to have something that was not going to date quickly. We also wanted to maximise the view, using as much glass as we could.” Interior spaces are open and ready for entertaining. “I think we achieved what we wanted with the help of Dan and his team,” says the owner.

Architects Draftline of Timaru designed a bold, two-storey dwelling with a rock wall feature in front. Natural stacked schist forms part of the exterior walls. Inside, Sarah Bennett Interior Design used imagination and texture to make the home memorable. Large wall tiles in the kitchen are a stand-out feature and echo tiles on the fireplace. “We are really happy with the overall feel. The bathrooms took a lot of effort with tiling and designs,” says the owner. “Dan worked well with tilers and with Sarah, who picked the colours.”

A summer room and covered deck with electric louvres provide a seamless indoor-outdoor flow. Dan says the end result speaks for itself. “The house has a very open feel to it, and the views looking up to the head of Lake Tekapo are absolutely spectacular. There would not be many places in the world where you could wake up to views like this.”

The builder is proud of how, despite crazy weather and a demanding landscape, his team has crafted a warm, comfortable home befitting its striking surroundings. “It was a huge build,” says Dan. “Everyone pulled together to make it happen.”

Location: Lake Tekapo | South Canterbury

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