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Bach-Meets-Boat Shed Brilliantly at Boathouse Bay

“The site is just fabulous and I’m so excited to move there,” beams Jean Lewis of her new home-to-be in Boathouse Bay. “It’s so beautifully imagined. Where else can you get such an exquisite, architecturally designed beachfront property so close to Auckland?”


Positioned on the Mahurangi Peninsula, on the northern end of Snells Beach, the Boathouse Bay development comprises 33 dwellings spread across a two-hectare, ocean-facing site, inspired by the classic boathouse look while riffing on the iconic Kiwi bach. And it’s all just a 50-minute drive from Auckland.


“I love being by the ocean,” continues Jean, who currently lives in Saint Heliers. “For most of my life I’ve had sea views. I come from Timaru, where I looked out on to Caroline Bay, and here there will be nothing but beach in front of me. Quite idyllic, really.”



Architect Ken Crosson’s aim is to build a high-quality “special community” that allows “a greater number of New Zealanders to live more affordably on their coastline”.


“The inspiration was the boat sheds that we see on our coastal margins,” says the architect, “like Oriental Parade and Hobson Bay and also those original bach communities with modest houses.”


The Boathouse Bay development ranges from two- to three-bedroom houses, some elevated, and not of a uniform design (a big box ticked for Jean). Working alongside landscape architect Rachel de Lambert, great effort has gone into incorporating and enhancing the immediate environment that comprises native bush and undulating dunes carpeted in coastal grasses. “Boathouse Bay has been designed so that residents feel as if they’re part of the magnificent beachside environment,” says Rachel. “The project has evolved with the architecture and landscape design fully integrated, and that’s something rather special. It will create a very desirable opportunity to live in a small scale coastal community.”


“I love the design, it’s all so clever,” says Jean. “They’re just like boathouses, but it’s not just one design repeated over and over, and they’re low-maintenance and practical to boot. For a beachfront, you couldn’t do better.”


Jean, who already has friends living at Snells Beach, is thrilled to have constantly been kept in the loop, even meeting with the developers, designers and architects. “The whole team have been amazing,” she says. “Very on the button, accommodating, and totally professional. I was able to express some of my own thoughts into the internal design such as whitewashed ceilings, some extra windows and a fireplace. I just wanted to change little bits here and there, to make it more me, and they took it all on.”


Jean certainly knows her stuff, having worked as a draughtswoman, while her late husband was also in the building trade. “We’d always been involved in the industry,” she says. “I was involved with the house plans for a retirement village in Timaru. This is the first time I’ve built off-plan, but I have no problem with that as I can envisage the size and design. I love it.


“I just can’t wait for it to be built. It’s such an exciting development, and it will be superb. So much good thought has gone into it, and it’s going to be lovely place for the grandchildren to come and stay!”

Site visits are available by appointment, to make a booking and for further details visit boathousebay.co.nz