"Living here is like living inside a piece of art," says Christine De Lille. "Everywhere you turn you look out to a beautiful view."
Even the outside is artistic and eye-catching. Just ask the Japanese brides who pull up outside here to have their wedding photos taken with the house as the backdrop. Christine wonders whether the tourists' friends back home seeing those photos think all New Zealand homes look just like this. Then again, when she's upstairs, looking out between the palms trees to the beach just four doors away, she feels as if she might even be in Hawaii.
The day - almost 11 years ago - when Christine and Rex walked through these doors for the first time, they felt the integrity of the Mediterranean flavour of this house with its Italian terracotta tiled roof and its solid plaster/timber/schist exterior, which was painted terracotta back then. "It was one of those houses that you had to step inside to really understand how good it was," she explains.
Built in the 1960s, the house was given its new identity in the late 1990s by its previous owner, who masterminded a handcrafted renovation that still impresses Rex.
His list of marvels includes the front doors with their sliding viewing ports, the aged metallic pulley door pull, the stairs built from five rimu logs, the adzed timber beam by the kitchen, the curved finish to the interior walls and the oiled timber stable door that opens out off the kitchen to the "people-watching" deck.
"You'd never be able to build a house like this today," he says of the three-bedroom, three-bathroom home that has, on its footprint, a legal one-bedroom flat with its own entrance, finished to the same standard. Sweeping concrete and tile steps lead to that all-defining front door.
Inside, the landing heads up the stairs to the living areas and downstairs to a cool, tranquil atrium lounge that looks out to the native garden, water feature, fish pond and in-ground pool.
The laundry, with its rimu bench, is down here too, as is the shower and bathroom with pebble-stone tiles, all accessible through double wrought-iron swing doors that Christine designed herself.
At the top of the stairs, up to the main living area of the house, it is the scale of the decks and the wrought-iron balustrades that maximise the elevated views and all of the viewing points from within each room that continue to intrigue Christine and Rex.
The Juliet balcony at the end of the dining room, with the atrium chandelier as its focal point, is one such example.
There are views down into the garden and out to sea as well.
In a wall cavity between the kitchen and the lounge, Christine and Rex chose not to install the prescribed fireplace, although the chimney flue was already in place, to avoid closing yet another pleasing sight line.
The main bathroom is a picture in white with large-scale pillars, textured tiles and heritage fixtures beneath a pale blue ceiling. Off the master bedroom and lounge with their three decks, the en suite features black granite with an American cherry wood vanity.
"There is permanence about everything here," says Christine.By Robyn Welsh