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 in 2019 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 faced several challenges due to its remote location in Whanarua Bay on the East Cape. Sourcing materials was a major issue, as the closest shop was over an hour away. The construction team, led by Rich Stewart from The Craftsmen, relocated to the site (four hours from Taupo) during the working week, which added to the logistical complexity.

Communication with the owners, who lived overseas throughout the entire build, was difficult. The remote site had no mobile phone coverage, making instant communication a challenge. Steven, one of the owners, visited the site approximately once every four months to check on progress. To keep the owners informed, Rich provided weekly video and photo updates.

The clifftop location required extensive earthworks, including drilling forty deep piles into the ground. The presence of unexpected rock necessitated much of the excavation to be done manually.

To incorporate the owners’ curated materials, such as tiles and stained glass collected over their lifetime, the items 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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