Handing over the design of your house to your daughter is something of a leap of faith, but it worked out perfectly for Rosemary Lord, whose country home in Wainui is testament to her daughter's talent.

The house was built 15 years ago, and the plans fulfilled the family's wish list for big bedrooms, lots of open plan living space, and views over the countryside.

The land on which the house is built has been in the family for decades. Rosemary's forebears arrived from Ireland in 1860 and settled in the Wainui area. When her grandfather returned from the First World War he married, bought land, built a family home and had five children.

"My father was the only son so he took over the farm and became a successful dairy breeder," says Rosemary.


She and her former husband eventually took over the farm, later selling some of the land but keeping the 16 hectares on which the house is built.

"We lived in a caravan first, then built the barn and lived there, and I built the house in 2003," says Rosemary.

It's a substantial brick and tile design with office and an open plan living area.
Entry is via a smart tiled foyer with a feature wall that tells a story.

As Rosemary's interest in miniature horses developed, she hung framed photographs of them on the wall. But as her passion grew, there came a time when there were too many minis and too many photos, so the display was replaced by an unusual planked feature wall.

The kitchen, painted Rosemary's favourite deep blue, has modern stainless appliances and lots of cupboard and bench space. It is the hub of the living area with a dining room on one side and a family room on the other. Polished timber floors in the kitchen and dining areas add country style.

"It's great when there are lots of people here and you can cook without bring shut off from everyone. When we have Christmas together we bring in another dining table and it's just magical."

There's a formal lounge to one side, but the family room is Rosemary's favourite. It has a big window seat with views over the property, and it's full of kids' toys. The grandchildren make a beeline for it whenever they visit.

"I like sitting there," says Rosemary. "I can look up the driveway, which is lined with claret ash, liquid amber, and flame trees that I planted. It's beautiful in autumn."

Most rooms have doors that open to the terrace and the pool, which was added after the house was built. The house sits against a backdrop of bush that's under a covenant and provides a sheltered environment.

Rosemary has planted many more trees. "I started planting when we first came here and I never stopped," she says.

There's also a large orchard with figs, grapes, guava, olives, lemons, oranges, macadamia, loquat and many stonefruit. "And I have a whole hedgerow of different varieties of feijoa, so we have fruit from those for months."

There are stables, sheds and cattle yards, plenty of parking space for cars, boats and caravans, and a choice of 14 paddocks for the mini horses.

"They have been an awesome hobby, involving us in showing, and providing entertainment for the grandchildren."

Her next move is about downsizing, but she's not giving up her passion just yet. There are not as many minis as there once were, but a chosen few are standing by to join her in a new home.

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