Big Flower Pitcairn Island
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The Site

The Build

Pitcairn Island, Big Flower - 1932
Pitcairn Island, Big Flower 1932

When we first came to Pitcairn Island in 2005 we quickly decided that this is where we wanted to be. We walked around the island for days at a time dreaming about where we might like to build a home.

We eventually came upon Big Flower, an overgrown terraced hill rising up beyond Adamstown. We stood amongst the head high Alwyn grass and Lantana craning our necks to see what lay below and there it was - the undulating azure blues of the south pacific and the island, bordered by Christian’s Cave to our left and Ships Landing Point to our right. It was such an incredible spot! Surely someone already owned it.

Pitcairn Island, Big Flower - 2006
Pitcairn Island, Big Flower 2006

Smitten we started asking around. Our dear friend Meralda Warren, who was the trustee for the last owners of Big Flower, told us that she would contact them and ask whether they would consider us taking over the land, given that they were unlikely to return to Pitcairn.

To our amazement they said yes and by the end of 2006 we had staked ‘our claim’ with the Pitcairn Islands Land Court and with help from friends and family, cleared our building site.

House design

Pitcairn Island, Big Flower - The House Plan
Big Flower the final house plan

Then the fun really began. Neither of us had designed and built a house before, let alone one which would entail everything, down to the last nail, being shipped from NZ to build. We spent weeks and weeks designing and redesigning and just as much time working out what should come up on the supply ship first.

We finally decided on a 181 square metre, house with a light filled open plan living area, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a pantry room and a storeroom. One of the bedrooms serves as our office, one a guest room and the other, is the master bedroom. The whole house opens up, with sliding doors providing loads of indoor-outdoor flow and access to the fantastic views.

Pitcairn Island, Building Big Flower - first wall
The First Wall
Pitcairn Island, Building Big Flower - framed
Building Big Flower

Eventually we found ourselves making our way to the house site every day, with picks and shovels, to survey the site and dig the footings – the dirt was as hard as rock!

Working through the winter months our first bit of framing, our bedroom and ensuite, went up in August 2006, other rooms soon followed and incredibly, by November we moved in. The house was little more than a covered shell at that stage – but we couldn’t wait.

It took another few months to get electricity to the site but we were able to catch and store rain water in a 5000 litre tank and we built an outside kitchen, shower, long drop toilet (duncan – Pitkern) and hot water copper so we immediately had everything we needed to live on site and continue building.

Pitcairn Island, Big Flower - The classic Pitcairn Island Copper
Classic Pitcairn Island Copper
Pitcairn Island, Big Flower - temporary kitchen whilst building
Temporary outdoor kitchen whilst building

These days, we’re well settled and developing Big Flower continues to be a labour of love. We’ve recently added to our water storage capacity (a 40,000 litre bladder) and looking more seriously at landscaping. Once that’s sorted we want to focus on decking around the entire house and flooring.

So, there’s till heaps to do but we’ve come so far, we know we’ll get there.

Pitcairn Island, Big Flower - the eastern aspect
From the east

Pitcairn Island, Big Flower - front perspective which faces north
Front faces north

Pitcairn Island, Big Flower - a typical sunrise from the lounge
Sunrise from the lounge