Haier Design Stories: Sustainably built
home draws design inspiration from
iconic New Zealand scenery

Drawing inspiration from the rustic character of the campsites and cabins that feature prominently throughout New Zealand’s stunning scenic hiking regions, architect Michael Cyra has created a home oasis in the far north of Auckland that is deeply connected to the country’s natural beauty.

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Michael’s design vision for his family home in picturesque Puhoi, north of Auckland, is a celebration of simplicity and purposeful use of materials that simultaneously blend into and accentuate the surrounding nature.

“We wanted to make a home that felt like the backcountry cabins we had seen on our journeys,” he offers. “Somewhere between refuge and shelter in its simplest form – and residence – that's where we wanted to land.”

Embracing the natural colours and textures of the materials – the rough materiality, New Zealand-sourced cladding, the darker palette, and even the scale of the building – develops a cohesive visual connection between both the interior and exterior of the home, and its surrounding environment. The effect is a home that feels both refined in its appointment, and thoroughly deliberate in every aspect of its design.

Among the four defining structures, nowhere does the architect’s vision better come to life than in the open plan kitchen – a luxurious elevation of the traditional cabin, where the communal kitchen and dining areas bring everyone together.

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To bring cohesion and flow between indoors and out, Michael continued the timber cladding into the kitchen space and, working with kitchen specialists, selected dark-hued cabinetry colours that matched the cladding for a seamless look. To complement the darker aesthetic of the cladding and panels, the kitchen was furnished with black appliances chosen to sit back visually.

“What we were looking for was a kitchen that would be settled and just disappear – and the appliances to do so even further,” he explains. “The aesthetic had to match, we wanted to have trust in the brand, and an appealing price point as well. With Haier, finding something that ticked all three of those boxes was a massive win.” 

The aesthetic had to match, we wanted to have trust in the brand, and an appealing price point as well. With Haier, finding something that ticked all three of those boxes was a massive win.


The matching colours, finishes and design details across Haier’s portfolio meant that there were plenty of options to choose appliances to give the cohesive look that Michael wanted.

In an appealing contrast to the dark appliances, Michael has used a recycled timber ceiling from Forte, which repurposes old wood with character from wasteful demolition. Sustainable and locally-sourced materials like thermally-treated pine cladding were also prioritised.

The result is a simple yet functional kitchen that delivers views of the surrounding native bush, flowing into open plan dining and living spaces – allowing Michael to enjoy time with his young family, while providing the right space to explore his next project – cooking.  

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Through thoughtful consideration of materials, form and practicality, Michael Cyra has created a one-of-a-kind, design-forward and highly liveable home that tenderly balances the feeling of a rustic bush cabin - where he feels most at home - with modern comforts.

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