When Soraya and Mark Hendesi returned from Dubai 10 years ago, they had drawings for a new house. But when they saw this almost-new house and lush grounds on Whitford's Clifton Peninsula, those plans were ditched.
"We fell in love and bought it," recalls Soraya. "The fresh country air is like oxygen to us when we travel so much." Like their award-winning skincare brand, Snowberry - marketed internationally - the green lifestyle is more than skin-deep.
The house also combines modern convenience with traditional charms. Designed by Replica Homes, the wide, lace-trimmed verandas and sandy-coloured recycled bricks recall Australian colonial homes. Contemporary technology includes a bore and waste-water treatment and irrigation system.
When visitors enter the brick gateway, the trickling fountain, deep verandas and clouds of white roses suggest a more gracious era of country living.
From the entry, glowing terracotta tiles in the large, open-plan family area conceal under-floor heating. The traditional Smallbone kitchen includes a butler's sink and basket drawers. Even the fridge is tile-clad, while an efficient pantry is concealed in a country pine armoire. The replica antique stove is irresistible.
"People go straight to that stove when they come in," says Soraya, "and it turns out the perfect roast as well." A central tiled island is another popular gathering place, while the generous dining area has seated 25 people.
The stove includes a woodburner, but Soraya prefers the double-sided Hinuera stone fireplace that divides the formal dining and living rooms. In winter, she loves reading beside the blazing fire and even planted chestnut trees so she could roast nuts on it. Cue Nat King Cole?
Hosting extended family is one of the reasons Soraya bought such a large house. One end of the ground floor houses a suite with living area, bedroom and bathroom. It was planned as a granny flat. Nearby are two more double bedrooms, a full bathroom and guest toilet.
Upstairs, a romantic master bedroom suite offers country views from dormer windows, under a sloping, timber-lined ceiling. A large walk-in wardrobe opens into the bathroom, where modern luxury - a spa bath - is softened by Victorian-style fittings. At the other end of the room, a skylit storage area could become an office or even a nursery.
While Soraya was developing the Snowberry line, her home office was in another dormer-windowed room above the separate triple car garage. That space could become another guest suite, serviced by the bathroom in the ground-floor laundry below.
The biggest joy of country living is the great outdoors. A lush subtropical garden is reached from French doors and shady verandas opening off all the living areas. A salt-water pool, stone terraces edged in palms and lawns feel like a mini resort. The pool-room with bathroom and kitchen opens up to become a bar that held more than 200 at Snowberry's launch.
From the front veranda, Soraya and Mark watch sunsets over the fully fenced property to the estuary. "It's a perfect place to launch kayaks and paddle to Whitford village and cafes," says Soraya.
With her professional interest in organics, Soraya has planted vegetable beds and an orchard boasting apple, citrus and quince trees.
It's because of their Snowberry Gardens plantation that Soraya and Mark are selling. Despite the convenience of living only 10 minutes from Botany or 15 minutes from the motorway and their Manukau laboratory, they want to develop further north.
"We'll be so sad to leave this place, but someone else will love this sanctuary as much as we have," says Soraya.By Joanna Smith