23 (& 21) Elmore Road, Albany.

Horse lovers will delight in a sprawling Albany property.

When a property's stables have been architecturally designed, it's no surprise the humans lodgings are chic enough to make you whinny with delight.

That's the case at Robin and James Stewart's home in Albany, which owes its majestic views of the area to a prime position atop a 2ha finger of land.

They bought the stylish hilltop home (sans stables) off its original owners in 2002, two years after it had been built. There was good reason for Robin to get the original architects to design the solar-powered stable: her training as a barefoot hoof trimmer and slightly alternative ideas about horse care meant she wasn't looking for your standard layout.

"I wanted a big covered area, so the horses could get out of the weather but didn't have to wear covers, and a hoof soaking bath so their hooves can be trimmed and don't have to be shod. The soaking bath keeps their hooves flexible - just like when you go for a manicure and they soak your nails." Lace (named for her elegant dappling) is happy to wade in to pose for photographs.

The tour of the house takes a little longer. The plasterboard home follows a symmetrical T-shaped layout, with a vaulted canopy above the central entranceway adding interest to the roofline. Open the oversized front door and a long hallway leads off to the left and right to bedroom and living areas. But it is the vista in front that beckons: a large room with three sets of French doors leads to a paved patio with heated in-ground pool and spectacular views.

"There's something about that view - people walk into the house and keep going toward it," says Robin.

The Stewarts have further developed much of the outdoor living, rearranging gardens and building walls around the pool, which also encase an outdoor fire. A discreet glass fence running between the patio and pool creates an enclosed outdoor area handy for children or pets. Robin shows her American heritage when describing the central entertaining room as "the great room" - a much friendlier term than the usual Kiwi description of open-plan kitchen/living/dining room. The face of the kitchen servery has black pebble tiles resembling pebble mosaics. Across the room the Stewarts have installed a wide wood-burning fire.

Coloured concrete flooring, cut into a large tile pattern, is used in the great room and hallway. At the end of one wing, the layout suits being used as a guest suite, with a bedroom adjacent to an en suite, a living room with fridge and a private garden with patio.

At the other end of the hallway, the master bedroom with walk-in wardrobe also has a retreat ambience, opening to a private garden with a spa pool and a pond inhabited by melodic frogs.

The hall also accesses four more bedrooms, another living room, two elegant bathrooms, a separate study and a laundry/mudroom with outdoor access.

Eye-catching elements abound, from the stainless roller system that operates the huge sliding door to the great room, to the narrowing hallway design.

The Stewarts no longer need such a large home now the children have grown up, so are downsizing. They are also selling a 2ha block of adjacent land at No. 21 Elmore Road, which is connected to this property by a race. It will be auctioned at the same time.

Vital Statistics




SIZE: Land 2ha, house 318sq m (approx), stables 82sq m (approx).

PRICE INDICATION: Interest is expected above the GV of $1.525 million. Auction March 22.

INSPECT: Saturday & Sunday 3-4pm or by appointment.

CONTACT: Shona Jurlina or Iain Rankine, Bayleys, ph 0275 997 022 (Shona), 021 935 778 (Iain).

FEATURES: Architecturally-designed home with sweeping country vistas. Three living areas, separate study. Pool with outdoor fireplace and mature tropical garden. The professionally-landscaped property has solar-powered stables with tack room, hay store, hoof soaking bath and an adjacent arena.