Buying guide

St Clair architectural beauty with views to the sea and city

When built in 2019 this home overlooking St Clair beach was designed to have views to the beach and back to the city.

It’s not often that a contemporary, architectural home in Dunedin’s St Clair comes on the market, and locals and out-of-town buyers are already recognising this as a rare opportunity. 

Geraldine-based architectural designer, Jess Paterson, got the gig to design the St Clair home after the owners of the property saw a house she did for her sister in Taupō. They wanted the same beachy feel and a similar layout that allowed for living and views on both sides of the building, says Jess. 

The vendors of this St Clair house had lived next door and subdivided the land which sits above the boardwalk and esplanade sea wall, just a stone’s throw from St Clair’s cafes and restaurants.

Jess gave the coastal Dunedin home, built in 2019, a lot of glass, in her design, with three storeys of open stairs, creating an atrium feel when you enter. 

The exterior is cedar cladding, the timber has random width and depth to give it more of a textured, slightly industrial look. The joinery throughout is aluminium, all the materials  “up-specced” to be hardy against the salt spray, says the architectural designer.

Inside the three storey home are detailed plywood feature walls which contrast with white walls and black joinery. The floors are concrete on the ground level and engineered wood on the living and primary bedroom level.

The decks to the north and south of the house allow for outdoor living in any weather conditions and make the most of those contrasting views, says Jess. An extensive deck on the top floor runs across the living and the primary bedroom facing the beach and there are two outside sitting areas which look back to the city. 

The relationship between the designer and her clients has been a good one. She has gone on to design and build another home for them in Wānaka and that’s where they’re off to next.

The architectural designer was sad to hear they were selling the St Clair house but says it’s an opportunity for a new owner.

The home is attracting strong interest from locals who are familiar with the attractions of St Clair, and there’s also been some out-of-town enquiry, says Bayleys agent Craig Palmer. It also wouldn’t surprise him to have some interest from expats who know and love Dunedin and the St Clair lifestyle.  

Asked to describe St Clair to out-of-towners who like the look of the house but don’t know the area well, he says there’s no comparison he can think of to other parts of the country. He prefers to go international. “St Clair is the Riviera of the South,” says Craig. 

St Clair is where the best cafes, bars and restaurants in Dunedin are and connects with the wilder St Kilda beach further along. It’s around ten minutes from Dunedin CBD, just three or four km from town, he estimates.

“Most of the people who live out in St Clair have kids who surf and spend their days at the beach both summer and winter,” says the Bayleys agent. And there's a public heated saltwater pool if it gets chilly. 

As to who the home would suit, it would appeal to a wide range of buyers, he believes. The 277 sq m home on a 743 sq m site would be fine for just a couple, with friends and family coming to stay in the three downstairs bedrooms and study, or, equally a family with teens who would love the beach side living. The three outdoor decks make it a great house for entertaining, says Craig. 

Because of the location and design of the home, it gets sun from first thing in the morning until last thing at night, says Craig. Heating is via a large heat pump, a gas fire in the upstairs living, and there’s double glazing throughout. The owners have no window treatments on the windows because they love the views and no one is overlooking them, says the agent.

 The luxury home is being sold by deadline sale by 25 October. 


Gill South
Gill South