Andy and Linda Watkins know working with mates can be risky. But their decision to commission Alan's rugby mate to build this large home on a scenic lifestyle block paid off, creating a strikingly detailed home that won a building award.
Linda's mother Claire Matusich had the 1999 home designed so her daughter and son-in-law could live with her, but has been in a rest home for the past five years.
Claire asked architectural designer Ross Dustin and Andy's old rugby cohort, builder Alan Wallace, to create a polished contemporary two-storey home, which was completed in 1999. Andy says: "Alan's a perfectionist and couldn't have done a better job here. Alan and Ross worked well together and went on to do a number of homes together."
The house blends Hinuera stone, vertical cedar, plaster and abundant glass in its exterior, a striking look that in 2000 won it the Registered Master Builders House of the Year Auckland Award for the over-$450,000 dwelling category.
Its 5.29ha of land is quiet and privately located a short drive from Kumeu township, with wide rural outlooks over mature grounds and beyond. The couple's cat Maggie-May frolics in this serene setting, visited by birdlife including pheasants, wood pigeon and tui. Yet her owners say the new motorway extension makes short work of the drive into central Auckland, where they both work in the banking industry.
Intercom gates secure the main home, nestled away from the road after a turnoff to the property's large implement shed. Form and function combine within the geometric home set in carefully nurtured grounds containing a bore, cattle yards, and six fenced paddocks that may suit horse-lovers.
The driveway loops around a curved garden fronting the 341sq m, four-bedroom home, which has triple-car garaging.
A long overhang over the entranceway is enticing, set off by a fishpond. Inside, the ceiling soars above in a double-height atrium stepping up to the main living level.
Tongue-and-groove rimu and Alti composite timber-aluminium joinery are premium features. Glass blocks subtly shed additional light on the already light-filled interior.
Andy says: "I think the home benefited from quite an open brief. All Claire wanted were wide corridors, curves and a driveway you could turn around in."
The main living, dining and kitchen area is floored in Italian tiles, with underfloor heating. Linda says: "The sun just flows in all around here."
Today Alan's wearing shorts and adds, "I can easily be dressed like this in the middle of winter."
The living space has bifold doors opening to outdoor entertaining areas and a prettily planted, solar-heated pool.
Linda says the home has been great for entertaining, with guests using the patios, irrigated gardens, big lawns and with children loving the pool.
Part of the downstairs living area is double-height, complementing the curves of the upstairs landing, above the well thought-out kitchen with its granite bench.
A separate formal lounge is a favourite winter haunt, warmed by a gas fire. A downstairs master wing with walk-in wardrobe and en suite with bath has a separate toilet. There's a cache of under-stair storage for the roomy office, which is bolstered by expansive cupboards in the sizeable neighbouring laundry.
Alan and Linda love the big bedroom upstairs with walk-in wardrobe and deck, for its views of the countryside. This level has two further bedrooms, a striking marble bathroom and a landing living space.
The family has decided it's the right time to realise Claire's investment in the property and it's now waiting for new owners.By Sandra Goodwin