Mark Berryman is not your typical builder with a ute, a dog and a radio tuned to a lad rock station. After only 10 years in business, his construction company, Selah, which specialises in design for new builds and renovations, has more than 50 staff and he's finishing his MBA thesis at Otago University on the housing crisis.

Oh, and he was selected as one of the Deloitte Fast 50 and was a finalist this year for Young New Zealander of the Year for his volunteer work for Habitat for Humanity since he was 15, building homes around Asia and Samoa.

To add to his plate last year, he began developing luxury homes in the booming new suburb on the edge of old Riverhead. The third of these is now for sale.

"I love doing all the designs and the details. I work with architect Tim Ross, who I met when I was living in Dunedin while my wife Liz was at medical school," says Mark. "While we lived in Dunedin, we were on the beach, so when we came back to Auckland we needed water. We could never live in the city."


The section the couple found on Tauwaka Cres overlooks the esplanade reserve of Deacon Point, where a riverside walkway wends around the wetlands - newly planted and restored.

Mark says that on a high tide he and Liz could kayak around the corner to the bustling Riverhead Tavern, while further into the village there's a new cafe and dining - indicative of the transformation taking place in the rural community.

He says that this new neighbourhood is popular with couples moving off larger farms in the area who still want the sort of rural outlook he and Liz enjoyed.

Mark and architect Tim have refined their traditional-with-a-twist style with each build, using a dark-stained cedar weatherboard siding, and symmetrical gable roofs finished with substantial white joinery.

Mark points out where he has built up generous posts and pergolas on the outside porches to balance the house and give it some heft. He had to do substantial groundworks to level the property into a series of terraces so that there is great outdoor space on both the eastern and western sides of the house.

Clipped hedges and easy-care landscaping create private nooks around the garden. The big morning terraces, off the dining room and formal lounge, have views across the walkway, and can't be built out, while the back terrace is sheltered and sunny in the evenings.

The entire downstairs floor was designed forentertaining, which was tested this month, with about 60 people celebrating a significant birthday and guests from down south spreading out in the guest rooms.

The lounge has sliding doors to both terraces, and an elegant Escea fireplace, while on the other side of the entry the kitchen is at the hub of another casual sitting area and the dining space.

Mark likes to design his own cabinetry - for the kitchen specifying engineered white stone benches, white lacquer for the island and lower cupboards highlighted by a decorative oak for upper cabinets that matches the wide-plank oak floors used throughout the ground floor.

Smeg appliances are sleek and integrated, but the grunty clean-up and prep areas are hidden in a large scullery behind that holds dishwasher, microwave and appliances. It was roomy enough for caterers for the party. Also on this floor is a guest loo, a proper laundry and internal access to the carpeted double garage.

A striking steel and jarrah staircase gets a full wall of glass so that the water views are visible as you head up to the bedrooms. The two front bedrooms, a master and second double room, have bifold doors that open back leaving a glass balustrade, for summer nights.

The master has smart white wall tiles that bounce the light from the skylight, a high-tech shower head and double vanities. There are two more bedrooms on this floor and a good-sized family bathroom with a sculptural tub.

The couple have loved living in the area. As well as the Riverhead Tavern, they love the Hallertau Brewery and the local wineries. There's a stylish Boric Foodmarket up the road, while big box shopping and services are a short drive away at Westgate.

But they are not moving far, selling this house so that Mark can start on another just across the park in Deacon Point. In that way, I guess you could say he is a typical builder, always on to the next project.