The Farside – a Kiwi Castle

While in Otamatea Eco-Village, I stayed in the Castle on the Farside. It was born by the union of creativity and hard work. I was amazed by all of the skill and time spent over the smallest of details.

New Zealand Kiwi Castle, Otamatea Eco-village

All of the joinery (trimming) was handmade, mosaic patterns decorated the floor, pillars, and rooftop, and the stairs were fitted to hold each individual branch railing. They avoided right-angles wherever possible to mimic the freeform curves found in nature.

The best way to achieve this level of customization is to have the right tools and space for the job.

organized workshop, garage, tool organization
The barn was a dedicated workshop.
Handmade windows and trim.

The house was made of bricks composed of 50% sawdust. This makes them light but sturdy, and great heatsinks for absorbing day and nighttime temperatures and slowly disseminating it to cool the house in the day and heat it by night. They chose dark tiles to be on the North Facing (remember, this is the Southern Hemisphere!) floor so that they too would absorb heat in the day and let it out by night.

sawdust bricks, New Zealand Home
Sawdust bricks add a cozy temperature AND appearance.

The roof collected rainwater, then sent it through a filter for household use.

tile mosaic waves
The bathroom uses rainwater, too!

Ponies manicured the front lawn and kept the wilderness at bay.

ponies, lawnmower, livestock
Not your usual ride-on lawnmower!
herding ponies
Bet you’ve never had the fun of herding your lawnmowers back home.

All of these practical features did nothing to impede imagination in designing the home. They made a list of things they wanted and found ways to incorporate a big kitchen, movie room, tower, bridge, cellar, and abundant light. What they came out with was a fantasy made real.

natural wood railings
Hand crafted wooden railings.
root cellar, homemade beer, canning storage
Cellar in the bottom of the tower.


family meal
The last supper together.
cat in a basket.
Home to many.


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