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Pared-Back Family Home Takes After Tents and Sheds

In creating a home for a growing family in Titirangi, New Zealand, Dorrington Atcheson Architects opted for a design that "openly tells the story of how it was made," through a no-fuss presentation of its humble materials: plywood for the walls and ceilings, aluminium for the joinery, and concrete for the floors. Naturally, that kind of material palette goes well with a design scheme that's similarly presumption-free, and this one takes its cues from what the firm describes as the "utilitarian forms of a tent and a shed," with a canopy-like mono-pitch roof connecting two solid bookends to "architecturally mimic a tarpaulin." Pair that with the "determined shades of orange, red, yellow and blue" on the kitchen cabinets and doors, and you've got a contemporary family home that feels warm despite its large stretches of full-height glazing, and youthful despite a few very retro features.

The open-plan living area in the center saw the firm implementing a contemporary take on the conversation pit, that widely derided shibboleth of '70s design, where an L-shaped built-in banquette backed with bookshelves is set across from an entertainment unit. The kids' rooms also go strong on the built-ins, with bright yellow bunks that can easily be converted into desks; a great example of future-proofing in a home that feels very "now."

· Easterbrook House [Architizer]