Vicki Rosser and Steven Cotterell

Whanarua Bay

This beautiful home situated on a cliff top overlooking the Pacific Ocean recently won an NZIA Architectural Award for it’s exquisite design that was described as “reflective of its powerful and uncompromising setting”. The house wraps around the site taking in the view from every room. It’s simple, yet elegant with great attention to detail.


  • The build came with multiple challenges. First and foremost was its remote location. Whanarua Bay is a remote seaside location on the East Cape. Planning and organisation needed to be paramount as the closest shop for materials was over an hour away. The build took over a year during which time Rich Stewart and his team of builders located to site (four hours from Taupo) during the working week.
  • Adding to this, the owner’s were living overseas throughout the entire build so instant communication was difficult – especially considering there was no mobile phone coverage at the remote site.  Steven visited approx once every four months to check on progress.  Rich would send video and photo updates on a weekly basis to keep them informed.
  • The clifftop site required extensive earthworks. Forty piles needed to be drilled deep into the ground. Unexpected rock meant that much of the excavation needed to be done by hand.
  • The owners had curated various materials such as tiles and stained glass over their life time. These were shipped from Australia and carefully integrated into the design.

We built our future home in Whanarua Bay while living in Austrailia. Rich gave us piece-of- mind by sending photos and keeping us up to date with issues. He made valuable suggestions to change aspects of the build respectfully and most were adopted. He was always very professional, showing concern and respect during some of the more difficult times. His patience is extraordinary and his attention to detail, excellent. I would not hesitate to recommend Rich and his team to prospective clients.

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