Genius First Light Blog

Southern Kiwi Home - Style Guide

Posted by Jeremy Richards on Jul 18, 2018 11:14:43 AM

There’s something truly unique and special about the landscapes of the South Island. Be it the wild and rugged mountain ranges, or the picturesque glass-like reflections of the southern lakes.

Despite this beauty there is a hidden harshness that builds character to those that call this beautiful part of New Zealand home. The closer you get to the towering, snowcapped peaks of those stunning mountains, the more the climate affects the living conditions. From freezing snowy winters, to hot & dry summers this can have a huge impact on your home and how it needs to be built to withstand life in the south.

Over the years local authorities have become very strict when it comes to building regulations. Some of these restrictions are cosmetic and influence the form, shape and colours used in a home being built. These choices may generally reflect the likeness of the rocks and tussocks, to ensure new designs are sympathetic to the beauty around. Building a home means you'll need to be aware of how the architecture in these areas needs to strictly reflect the Kiwi landscape. You won’t find bright yellow or garish blue homes in this neck of the woods!

Yet these requirements shouldn't be seen as a barrier to building a beautiful home in the heart of some of the most stunning scenery on offer. Instead there are huge opportunities to be had.

To help discover new ways to compliment the vast array of beaches, lakes, mountains and farm lands (not to mention wineries) we have put together a few of our top southern style must haves for you to consider when choosing the finishing touches on your home design, which will help reflect the essence of this great land.

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Natural Accents:

The use of natural materials seems like a natural way to blend your home into the surrounding environment, and for good reason. Materials such as schist, stone or natural timber are going on nearly every new home built within the Central Otago region. Not only is it really on-trend, but it's naturally sympathetic to the surrounds.

We don’t blame people for choosing to add a bit of nature to their homes, because the final outcome is breathtaking.


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Bringing the outdoors inside:

Being one with nature is part of the reason so many people love the South Island. Stepping outside and within moments you could be in the middle of the bush and experiencing the awe of nature.

So it makes sense to bring some of this natural beauty inside, for those rare moments you're not enjoying the natural wonders around you. Beyond the occasional house plant, consider bringing in more local touches to soften the interior space.

Moss features and wooden elements need only be the beginning. Shist splashbacks in the bathroom or large slate pavers can make you feel like you're on an adventure without setting foot outside.


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Colour Choices:

In some areas the environment can dictate the colour schemes you use on the exterior of your home, but it can also be a compulsory decision based on location.

A neutral pallet, like the example above, is a way for you to pay homage to the hues around you, without going overboard. This is a popular range thanks to Resene, and can be found easily across the South Island. These colours complement the natural landscape, as well as natural materials such as schist, stone and wooden pillars and cladding. Perfect if you're bringing these elements into your home design.


The Kiwi entertainer is in all of us.

We have some of the most beautiful backyards in the world, with views that others could only dream of. So naturally we want to make the most of them.

Outdoor fireplaces, pizza ovens, braziers and fire pits create a social hub in any outdoor environment, including a lounge area. A large deck, with a great flow from within, can really help you make the most of the stunning views around you.



Secrets of a dry garden by Megan Wraight


Despite many South Islanders having a great appreciation for the outdoors, not everyone enjoys keeping their own landscaping in order.

Yet this provides one of the best ways for you to bring your favourite parts of the South Island to your back door.

Pick low maintenance foliage if you can't be bothered with upkeep. Luckily there's plenty to choose from, as much of the South Island's native plantlife has to be pretty hardy. Tussocks and grasses can withstand a battering, and don't require a lot of work to stay alive. If you're a little more ambitious, or green-thumbed, then you'll have a wide array of natives to replicate your favourite mountain or coastal escape.

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