On the back roads of a two-pub town in southern New Zealand, magic is happening. Behind corrugated metal walls, Andrew and Bianca are transforming an old woolshed into a one-of-a-kind oasis. When they first saw the building's site, with its hilly green acres and flowing river, they knew it was perfect for their future home. Now they are working to transform the warehouse-style structure, once used for shearing sheep, into a functional residence. The vintner and musician duo are well suited to the task, bringing equal parts patience and imagination to the process.
Their vision for the cavernous space, currently divided into two great rooms, is a light-filled abode with a wraparound porch and enough bedrooms for visiting family and friends. While their dream takes shape around them, the couple is living in one half of the converted building—the half once used by shed hands to sort and store wool. On the other side of the wooden wall, still pierced at intervals by short doors leading to old holding pens, is an open storage area.
The rustic bathroom is the only walled-off space in the lived-in half of the home. The rest of the rooms are informal sections flowing into one another beneath a soaring ceiling. From the sleigh bed in the corner, you can see the dining room, living room, kitchen and office without so much as lifting your head from the pillow. It’s the perfect open floor plan for Bianca to practice a weekend gig on one of three drum sets, or for the couple to host parties and pour some of Andrew’s elderflower champagne. On cold nights you can find them together on two stools next to the wood fire stove, or tucked beneath knit throws on the couch. When the days are warmer, they slide back one of the kitchen’s walls to reveal breathtaking views of the Waitaki Valley. In short, nothing is keeping them from enjoying the woolshed in its pre-converted state. Though they have big plans for the place, they’re not waiting for the final coat of paint before calling it home.