With time on their side to plan and build their dream home while they worked towards retiring, Lynda and Les Stevens shaped out the design of their home and garden so they could enjoy the good life at Waipu.
They bought the coastal land, almost 0.8ha, in 2003. The views were simply sensational, from Whangarei Heads reaching past the Hen and Chicken Islands, Sail Rock and out to Little Barrier and Great Barrier islands.
As Lynda says, they had four or five years to think about what to build and would pop up at weekends with their family, staying in a caravan and "doing the Kiwi thing" until they moved up in 2007, with the house completed in 2008.
With the views in mind, and also the intention of running a B&B, the brick-and-tile home was designed with two bedroom wings, one with three bedrooms, all with bathrooms, for their B&B guests. The other wing with the master bedroom has an en suite, walk-in wardrobe and office. All the bedrooms open to the outdoors through stacking sliding doors.
In the middle of the house are the living areas with welcoming gas fireplace, kitchen and library, again opening out to the tiled al fresco area running the length of the house and capturing the coastal views. At the back of the house is another terrace.
The kitchen has F&P oven, gas hobs and generous storage, plus there is a butler's pantry - with F&P double-door fridge/freezer, twin DishDrawer and another kitchen sink - with a sliding door to shut it off from the kitchen. A double garage has loft storage and there's plentiful off-street parking on the sealed driveway.
They chose hard-wearing, sustainable saligna wooden flooring to complement the high stud walls and pitched ceilings; and insulated exterior and interior walls to ensure peace and quiet for their guests. "We put everything we like in the home," says Lynda.
It was their dream home, she says, and they worked hard developing and landscaping the section, establishing level lawns and planting blueberries, griselina hedges, macadamia, olive and citrus trees. With their neighbours, who are retired farmers, they would graze calves on the pasture. "When they were ready to be sold at market, the money goes to St John. It helps us and it helps St John. But the new owners can use the pasture for what they like."
Lynda says they used three quarters of an acre for the build and garden, leaving the rest in pasture. There is huge potential for more garden, with an electrical supply in place.
And she and Les realised their dream of running a B&B, with their website inviting guests to come and share a little bit of their paradise.
"It's not the money, it's the lovely people you meet running a B&B. People would come to stay one night and end up staying two or three nights and drink all our wine! It's what we wanted to do and we were lucky to have the opportunity."
Sadly, Les passed away last year after a battle with cancer.
Lynda says she really appreciated the community's support during that difficult time. "Waipu is wonderful, it has such a caring community. The whole community was wonderful when Les got sick."
After some soul searching Lynda has decided to sell the property.
She has yet to decide if she will stay in Waipu or move back to Auckland to be close to family there.
"I'd like to see a family in here because it's built for that or a couple who want to live the quiet life, maybe work from home and maybe earn a bit extra running a B&B."
"It's a beautiful home. I know the people who buy it will love it and its magic."