The hill-top setting is spectacular, allowing commanding views over the greenery of native bush and pasture and the blue water of Sandspit Harbour.

Pat and Malcolm Vaissiere bought this north-facing hectare of land in 1995. Originally from England, the first time the couple came to New Zealand they stayed at a bach at Snells Beach. "We stayed for a week and I just loved it," says Pat. "The atmosphere and the beach was lovely and the views were amazing. I didn't want to go anywhere else."

They started building this home in 1997.

"I designed the house. I wanted a nice, comfortable house; I had the plans drawn up and submitted to council. It is two levels; the bedrooms are downstairs and the living rooms are upstairs to take advantage of the view."

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With that requirement in mind, the house was built with four king-size bedrooms, three bathrooms (two are en suites), laundry and abundant storage on the ground level.

Upstairs are the kitchen, dining areas inside and out, and the large living room with its wood fireplace. There are also heat pumps in the bedrooms and in the living areas.
High, sarked cedar ceilings and timber beams complement floor-to-ceiling windows, adding to the feeling of space.

"You can have your breakfast on one side in the sun and your dinner on the other side in the sun," says Pat. "We call that the dining deck, which is lovely in the evening as you get the evening sun there. It has a roof over it, so you can even sit there in the rain."

Pat chose quality Miele appliances for the kitchen. The benches and cabinets have rimu edges, and all the doorways, skirting boards and window joinery are rimu.

"We used to have a hotel and we wanted a nice, modern kitchen. It still looks extremely good; it is in good condition.

"It was a lovely house for entertaining, we just loved it. We didn't finish until 2000 because we kept going back to England to earn a bit more money to finish off the house.

"The position is fabulous, the views are lovely, you look over the hills towards Matakana and out to sea. And the neighbours are all really nice, that makes a big difference."

The kidney-shaped pool with shelter next to the home is roughly 10m long; and has been well used.

"It is heated by the sun but my husband also put black piping under one of the paths and this heated the pool water in a solar way. It bought it up an extra five degrees."

The property has three entrances from the road. There is triple garaging with a workshop; and loads of turn-around space.

"If you think of a banana shape, that is how the land is," says Pat. "The concrete driveway to the house is in the middle of that banana, and at each end there is a gate on-to a paddock at each end. We have virtually every fruit tree you can think of [and for the] chickens, there is a shed and one container. "Landscaping was done to be [low-maintenance]. There is a fair amount of grass but that can be done on the ride-on."

Pat thinks it is the location that makes her family home special. "Everyone who comes here says that view is magnificent. It is not just out to sea, you can see the mountains in the background and the farmland. It is a good place to be."