By Donna McIntyre
The beauty of this property in the Waikato countryside is that it is peaceful, yet still just a 15-minute drive from Matamata.
Not that Ben Reid would go as far as describing Matamata as a city or being 24/7 hustle and bustle, having moved here from Auckland about four and half years ago.
He says he was never really that keen on Auckland and when the opportunity arose to move away from New Zealand's largest city to work in Matamata, he was keen.
"I moved here for work and I fell in love with Matamata, it is a great town."
He likes having the commuting distance, too, between home and work. "It is enough time to get out of work mode but not too far that it is a pain to get anywhere.
"This is a slice of paradise out of town, peaceful and picturesque. The house needed a bit of work but it is a lovely area.
"The affordability was a big factor as well."
He says the house had been trucked on to the site as a new-build around 1999.
It has cedar-look weatherboard cladding and a Colorsteel roof.
"The house is really simple, like a cottage and we have jazzed it up a little bit."
Ben and his former partner put in a new bathroom, a new kitchen, new carpets and modernised the decor using Resene Thorndon Cream on the walls, and a darker tone for doors and surrounds, to give the interior a cleaner look.
"We tried to make things a little bit lighter and more open, we put in some french doors to an outdoor entertaining area," he says.
"There had a been a patio area and we dug it down to make it level. We now have about 26 or 27sq m of decking opening off the lounge. There is a barbecue, outdoor table and chairs for meals."
They also put in some garden, lighting and a fish pond. And there is capacity for shade sails in the summer.
From the home, the lookout is over rural views across the valley and you can see Mt Te Aroha in the distance.
"There is no indication of the city, and you can't really see other houses from where we are," says Ben.
The layout of the home has the front door opening to a small annex with the hot water cupboard and storage for shoes and coats. This leads into a hallway, with the option to turn left for bedrooms, toilet and bathroom or right into the open-plan living, dining and kitchen. For heating, there is a wood burner with a wetback. "That gives us plenty of heat," says Ben.
The new kitchen they installed has a Formica benchtop and high gloss white cabinets with stainless steel dishwasher, oven and gas hob. Appliances are Bosch and DeLonghi, and there are pendant lights over the breakfast bar.
Outside, a two-car garage has room for a work bench and the laundry. A sleepout off the garage has an office set up in it, plus a double bed and storage.
Ben says there are good walkways nearby. Just five minutes up the road is a DoC reserve with a lookout tower facing the direction of Matamata and Cambridge. Also, there is a track near Matamata to the Wairere Falls, one of the country's highest waterfalls.
"There are plenty of options for someone into nature," he says. "There are guys who like to go hunting in the bush blocks near us but you don't very often hear it. And we are close to Tauranga, Rotorua and Hamilton, about 45 minutes to those. It's central."
Ben reckons this fully fenced slice of rural paradise will be bought by a young family. "It is beautifully serene; that is what I really like about it. It is a great place to bring up a couple of kids."