When you've overseen refurbishments and development of one of this country's most iconic buildings to the tune of more than $130 million, giving your 1980s house a makeover is a piece of cake in comparison.
Other people may have gulped at the thought of bringing this Matakana home into the 21st century, but Dr Rodney Wilson, the former director of the Auckland War Memorial Museum, was not at all fazed.
"There's a big difference between redecorating a house and adding extensions to a museum," says Rodney, also a former director of the Auckland Art Gallery and founder of the New Zealand National Maritime Museum. "Although there was a lot of work to do to this place we weren't daunted by it at all."
It was the property's location that first attracted Rodney and his wife Maureen two years ago. "It's a beautiful spot," says Rodney. "The views across to Bream Head and the Hen and Chicken Islands are stunning and it's such a sheltered position."
The house, named Korihi, had a certain appeal but they knew there was quite a bit to be done to get it up to scratch. Though the board-and-batten home had been well-constructed in the late-1980s, after 20-plus years it was showing its age.
The Wilsons threw themselves into the project, repositioning the decks against the cladding, adding flashing to windows and doors and putting in two new bathrooms, a new laundry and a stylish new Italian kitchen. The house was redecorated throughout in earthy and restful neutral colours.
The ceilings mainly feature exposed painted joists, the floors are oiled heart rimu and many of the walls are covered in shiplap - all of which contribute to a style Rodney describes as "sophisticated rustic".
"We didn't have a conscious idea of style but we've ended up with something reminiscent of Scandinavian style or Cape Cod," he says.
The piece de resistance is two massive macrocarpa beams in the sitting room. Each is 7m long and, although it wasn't easy finding or installing them, the hard work was worth it for the ambience they give the room.
The house is spread over several levels. On the entrance level are two bedrooms, a bathroom and the laundry plus kitchen and dining room. Steps lead down to the sitting room, which has a wood-burning fire and sliding doors to the deck that wraps around the house.
On the top level are two more rooms. The studio could also be used as a second sitting room or games room, while next to it the master bedroom, which has an en suite and walk-in wardrobe, could include an office. A balcony off the master bedroom is ideal for enjoying the spectacular views.
Outside is a large garden, including vegetable beds and fruit trees, areas of natural bush including one that is covenanted, and three paddocks. The Wilsons keep goats in one paddock, but they could be ideal for horses. It's a great area for riding, and the Matakana Equestrian Centre is very close by. The property also comes with a large double garage, two workshops and a shelter for a small boat.
The house is for sale because the Wilsons are downsizing for health reasons, otherwise they would not be contemplating moving. "It's great for entertaining, it's sunny and warm and it has wonderful views," says Rodney.By Donna Fleming