Just add some animal magic

By Catherine Masters

SIZE: Land 3.6ha, house 256sq m
PRICE INDICATION: CV $1.365 million
INSPECT: By appointment. Set sale date April 16
ON THE WEB: premium.co.nz/22463
SCHOOL ZONES: Zoned for Huapai District School, most teenagers head to North Shore schools
CONTACT: Logan Gilbert, 021 242 7241
FEATURES: *plus sleep-out with en suite. ** plus double carport.
141 Annett Rd, Briarwood Park, Kumeu. Photo / Ted Baghurst
141 Annett Rd, Briarwood Park, Kumeu. Photo / Ted Baghurst

Jean and Michael Houghton used to live in Hertfordshire and commute to London. They did this for decades but a few years back they sold their business and looked around at where they were at.

Their two daughters had both left the country - one was in Hong Kong with her family and the other was in New Zealand with hers.

"We just thought 'what are we doing being left behind in England?', because family is really important to us," says Jean.

The pair made a fast decision to come to New Zealand and looked on the internet for somewhere they could enjoy and be near their grandchildren, then bought this lifestyle property in Kumeu before they moved across the world.

"It didn't disappoint. When we came in for the first time we knew we'd made the right decision. We have never, ever hesitated over that. It's been perfect," says Jean.

Soon after they moved in, they got Daniel the kunekune pig and Heidi the goat from the SPCA and learned a lot about lifestyle block living.

The house is the original farmhouse, though extended and renovated, and Daniel lives in swish accommodation in the old milking shed, which they call "Dan's Palace".

Jean says she and Michael are "very reluctant" vendors but their daughter and her family have moved to the Bay of Plenty and they are moving also, again to be near them.

Jean says she will miss looking out the kitchen window to see a friend's three horses grazing, two of which are in foal.

They bought 3.6ha, including the farmhouse, the barn and stables and Jean says because they are on a hill they have incredible views across the rest of the farm.

People come to visit and tell her the house has a lovely feel to it, she says.

"I think it's a kind of family feel. It's not all modern, it's nothing like that. You come in and you really get the feeling it's a country home."

The wooden floors are matai and Jean says the previous owner told her they were recycled from a school hall in the Waikato.

"What I love about it is it's got history in the floorboards, if you know what I mean. It's not pristine but it's shiny, it's this beautiful wood but it looks like it could tell you a story."

She also loves little touches around the house. There are two stable doors at the back of the house, which she uses all the time.

"I keep the bottom half closed, you open the top, it's got a nice breeze that comes through the house in the summer and it airs the house in the winter. It's just a great feature."

There's a ton of storage, too, so everything can be put behind closed doors.

Probably the best thing, though, has been coming home through the gates - "every single time I just think 'wow'." It's just so lovely. It's so peaceful and it has an overwhelming sense of space, which for me is just great."

Photos: Lifestyle sanctuary in Kumeu

The couple had wanted somewhere near a beach and Muriwai is only 15 minutes away. Jean likes walking in the winter and can often be found in Woodhill Forest. Michael plays golf at Muriwai and tennis at Waimauku.

Their property is only five minutes to Kumeu Village or 20 minutes into the centre of Auckland, Jean says.

"You can do all those things and then you can come home to Annett Rd, come in behind the gate and it's like your own little beautiful, quiet world and I think that's what we love about it."

- NZ Herald

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