Oratia sun-chaser and catcher

By Graham Hepburn

118A Carter Road, Oratia
SIZE: Land 1.07ha, house 258sq m plus cottage.
PRICE INDICATION: CV $980,000. Auction October 3.
INSPECT: Sat/Sun 2-3pm.
ON THE WEB: barfoot.co.nz/482984
SCHOOL ZONES: Oratia District School, Bruce McLaren Intermediate, Henderson High School.
CONTACT: Karen Maxwell, Barfoot & Thompson, ph 027 446 8406.
FEATURES: Elevated split-level four- bedroom home on lifestyle property with room for sheep and chickens. Guest cottage with two bedrooms and two living areas. Large shed with three- phase power. Barn could be used for garaging
118A Carter Road, Oratia. Photo / Ted Baghurst
118A Carter Road, Oratia. Photo / Ted Baghurst

Being close to the city but living the rural dream attracted Alix Lee to this secluded property at the end of a right-of-way off Carter Rd.

Here, she has been able to have sheep and chickens, cultivate vegetable gardens and keep bees on a property that is peaceful and private. There's plenty of room for daughters Amber, 10, and Thora, 8, to muck about being country kids.

Having moved here two years ago from "a cold, damp house in Titirangi", Alix has enjoyed her new home's elevated, north-facing aspect and the fact that it has insulation to hold the heat from the sun that pours in through the home's extensive glazing.

"It's such a warm and dry house," says Alix. "It was built by a German family who lived here for 18 years and they did a great job designing it and maintaining it. It was immaculate when we moved in."

Decks wrap around the split-level home, meaning there is always a spot to find sun, shade or shelter, and plenty of room for entertaining outside the main living area.

Off to one side of the parking bay out front is another seating area beside a pizza oven in which the previous owners baked bread.

On four levels, the home has durable cedar cladding and aluminium joinery. The ground-floor living area is semi-open plan with the kitchen, which has a walk-in pantry, on the eastern side of the house adjoining the dining area and lounge.

A soapstone woodburner heats this space and the upper levels via a void above it.

"It's a Finnish fireplace with all sorts of clever convection things going on and it heats the whole house," says Alix.

"You just do one really hot burn in it and it radiates heat for 24 hours."

Half a level up and behind the living area there are two bedroom wings either side of the main bathroom and laundry.

On the eastern side of the house, the guest bedroom has its own en suite and the master bedroom opposite has a much grander tiled bathroom, with a clawfoot bath centre-stage in front of large windows.

"It's an incredible bathroom. You can lie in the bath, turn the lights off and look up at the stars," says Alix.

Both master bedroom and en suite open to the deck, which has an outdoor shower off it.

"Apparently, the previous owners would clean the bathroom after every use so to save them doing that they put in an outdoor shower," says Alix.

Up another level is the girls' retreat with Thora's bedroom part of a larger playroom with a mattress fitted into an alcove that is used for reading. Amber's bedroom is up another half level and has magnificent views of the countryside and Waitemata Harbour.

Another attraction for Alix, who has relatives in England and Australia, was the barn-style cottage down the hill from the main house.

This has two bedrooms, a kitchen, bathroom and two living spaces, and is heated by a gas fire.

Alix's initial thoughts were that it could be used by guests or as a homestay - instead, until recently, it was rented to long-term tenants.

On the way to the cottage you pass a half-round corrugated iron shed that has a concrete floor and three-phase power - an ideal place for blokes to tinker.

It's hard to give up such a lifestyle but now that Alix is studying to be a teacher, she is looking for a property that requires less of her time and is closer to her daughters' school.

- NZ Herald

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