It was a full house when David and Tanya moved to Herne Bay's Marine Pde four and a half years ago with their children Amy (pictured), Charlotte and David, plus a partner of one of the children.
Now with the younger members of the family ensconced in their own homes, David and Tanya have the 557sq m house all to themselves and it's proving to be a little large for a couple. "We're like Darby and Joan here now," says David. "There's just too much space."
The family had been living in Remuera, but when the children were old enough to drive themselves to school and other activities, David and Tanya decided it was time to make a move. "We just had an urge to live on this side of town," David recalls. "One of our daughters spotted this house and we bought it." While Marine Pde is a quiet street, especially for properties on the waterfront, it's also a locale that's close to the action. David says Ponsonby and Herne Bay's eclectic nature appealed. All in all, this property is a "great family home".
The house was designed by Nicholas Stevens and Gary Lawson of Stevens Lawson Architects and completed in 2003. With glass-reinforced concrete cladding, the house has timber, steel and concrete construction. The driveway leads down from the road and swings around to triple-car garaging, while the front of the house appears as a solid, private facade, punctured with an impressively crafted solid timber front door. Pale timber, mainly white-oiled European ash, features throughout the interior. Other materials, such as plastered wall finishes, tiles and a Corian benchtop in the kitchen, share the subdued, restful palette.
Immediately to the right of the entrance foyer is a home office/library with an extensive amount of built-in shelving. Next along is a powder room, plus storage. But this is all discreetly off to one side because visitors' eyes are immediately drawn to the water view, framed by pohutukawa, which stretches across the front of the house. In keeping with the direction of the vista, the layout flows from the entrance to a large open-plan living area and kitchen that enjoy the grandstand view across to Chelsea sugar refinery.
In contrast to its solid, south-facing front aspect, the interior of the home and the private, north-facing side feels light and airy. Generous sliders link indoors and out, while a high stud and clerestory windows allow plenty of light to flood inside. Even a cosy den off the main living area is flooded with light thanks to a skylight. The den, used by the family as a TV room, also features a plaster feature wall above an over-sized stone hearth with a gas fire. There is also a fireplace in the main living room and a wood-burning fireplace on the terrace outside.
A subtly faceted Corian island adds a sculptural element to the kitchen, which also has pale timber and stainless steel. The top floor was designed for entertaining. David has just enjoyed a dinner party for his 50th, while other soirees have included a 21st, complete with a band.
Downstairs is the more private part of the house, with four bedrooms, an impressive wine cellar, gym/media room and a teenage living room. The teenage zone and one of the bedrooms have direct access to a pool terrace, as does the master suite. The master suite, with a generous walk-through wardrobe, leads to a spacious, resort-style en suite that features soothing pale green glass mosaic tiles. Outside, the garden is arranged into a series of three terraces. At the top, the 12m pool's infinity edge creates a water feature for the lawned-terrace below, while the lowest terrace has access to the water. "It's a beautiful place to live," says David. "It's just too big for us now."