Ngaire Duncan from Chatswood on Auckland's North Shore wanted to move to a retirement village but she hates high-rises.
So she searched for months, describing one Takapuna village as a "furnished prison" because she felt enclosed by its vertical nature.
"Claustrophobia," she says of her fear of being boxed in.
So last Tuesday, she paid a $3000 deposit on a two-bedroom northeasterly-facing ground-floor apartment at Metlifecare's new boutique development, The Orchards at 123 Stanley Rd, Glenfield.
In what will be its 24th village, the NZX-listed business is developing the apartments and a 36-bed rest home on the site it bought for several million dollars from the Cox family.
"Being on the ground floor is important," Duncan says, explaining how she wouldn't live even one level off the ground.
"There's no place like it," she said, delighted about making the tough moving decision.
She will pay a lifetime fixed fee of $135 a week for her place, which she is pleased will look out over the green expanse of Glenfield College sportsfields and will be on the same floor as the swimming pool and blokes' shed, beneath the level-one lounge, library, indoor bowls, coffee bar and reception area.
The original homestead is a heritage listed building which Metlifecare will refurbish and turn into a cafe, planting some fruit trees around it in a nod to the land's history.
Metlifecare chief executive Alan Edwards said prices ranged from around $350,000 for a one-bedroom unit to about $600,000 for a three-bedroom.
"The prices are within the Glenfield median price range," he said.
"A big part of the village that's different is we wanted to keep it more integrated with the local community so the cafe in the cottage will be open to the public. We're undoing extensions on it, so the back comes off and the front lounge comes off and the cottage will be moved closer to the street."
* Metlifecare's The Orchards at Glenfield
* On 1.1ha former orchard site.
* First stage by early 2015.
* Being developed by Metlifecare.
* Around 40 staff will work there.
* About 150 residents.