Andrew Tremain and Karena Way lived on the waterfront in the house next door until Karena thought aloud that they could build a house "down there". Andrew wasn't sure, but went to check it out with the council.
When the resource consent came through the couple got to work. They both designed the house and put a lot of energy into it – there are glass walls, parquet floors, different angles and stairs that lead to a bedroom looking out to the water, and more stairs that lead down to another bedroom featuring corner windows that open right up, giving the feeling you are at the prow of a ship.
"The vision was to settle something into the bush and that addressed the view of the water," says Andrew.
The house is nestled in the trees with tons of pohutukawas that are about to come into flower.
Double entrance doors let the air flood through to what Andrew calls the studio level — although there is a separate studio as well — and down a corridor more stairs take you to the living level where there is a kitchen and lounge with a deck.
Andrew says the sloping windows were not designed so much for the look as for the feel when you are inside.
"It's bringing the bush in and the light, and not trying to be too big and square. It's like you're almost walking through the outside to get from one place to another but you're protected."
Karena designed the upstairs bedroom, which is above the treeline and has picture windows looking out to sea, plus a corner balcony.
"You just put your chair in and put your feet over the edge," says Andrew.
The property doesn't have a Code of Compliance because the couple didn't want to be restricted in its design.
Across the water is Hobsonville and Greenhithe Bridge is further down. The ferry to Beach Haven wharf passes by as do party boats.
Along a wall in the upstairs bedroom is a row of "penant" windows, an idea borrowed from a little yacht club over the water that had a penant flag painted on the building, "so I guess what we've done is borrowed from the environment".
Up here you can hear the water and sleep with the windows open to let in the sea breeze.
On the main living level you will also find the tiled bathroom, which brings in the sea theme and there is a colourful mosaic around the drain made of bits of glass smoothed out from the beach.
There is also a dressing room which means you can keep the bedroom clear.
The lower bedroom is Andrew's prow of a boat design and even the ceiling gently curves.
The studio, also with a sea view, could be used for guests, and it has a pull down ladder leading to a room that could be used for yoga or reading.
The couple has loved this house and realise they may never get quite such special sea views again, but Andrew says they moved back to the city a few years ago so it's time to sell.