It's a tough thing to reconcile in a marriage when one of you is a beach person, the other loves lakes.

Nearly five years ago, lake-loving Lee Tait persuaded her husband Graeme to move away from his beloved Milford to a house by the little-known lake on Onepoto Domain, just north of the Harbour Bridge.

"We'd been 21 years in Milford. But I used to visit friends who lived on this street, and years of sitting in their spa pool with a glass of wine, overlooking the reserve and lake made me want to live here," says Lee.

"I looked and dreamed for years, but Graeme wouldn't agree to sell. In the end, I bought this and told him it could be a rental!"


Lee admits it's been a bone of contention, and that, only 18 months after the complete rebuild of the house, Graeme's beach-love is again prevailing and they and their teenage kids are moving back to Milford.

In the meantime, Lee has been able to exercise her creative muscles, completely rebuilding and then redecorating the 1990s house.

The Taits were only the second owners of the property, the original builder snaffling the best site on the edge of the lake in the then-new subdivision.

He carved a solid concrete block basement into the ground, with tilt slab concrete floor for the upper level, but Lee was less-than-fond of the dated square "chilly bin" exterior on this main floor.

Working with architectural designer Joanne Hitchcock, of H Architecture, she stripped back the original footprint to its frame and rebuilt so that they could get the soaring ceilings and floor-to-ceiling glass walls that make the most of the view and the sun.

Hitchcock cleverly re-arranged the house, starting with a dramatic sweep of roof above the main living room, echoed by the pitch of a new double garage roof on the lower side of the house.

The entry to the house is now an enticing series of white-timber gates and decks, with a roomy storage shed under the garage.

The wall features a screen of one-of-a-kind twisted blond wood trunks that Lee, a florist and craftswoman, scored from a decor showroom.

She sourced stand-out lighting for both the exterior and interior, indulging her love of bling with modern crystal-drop feature lights and mirrors that bounce the light around.

Inside, Hitchcock opened up a jumble of four rooms to make one single, huge living room (structural steel holds everything up).

She pulled the kitchen away from the corner of the living room overlooking the lake, and rebuilt it in the former library on the western side of the house.

The sleek grey and black granite kitchen now opens through sliding doors to a sheltered walled patio that gets the afternoon sun.

The dining room is in the more intimate, lower corner of the open plan space, so that the sitting room can get the best of the views.

The Taits rebuilt the deck with long-lasting composite decking and glass balustrades, with more glass balustrades on the lawn below that adjoins the park, so that their view of the lake is unimpeded.

The Taits replaced all the windows through the upper and lower floors, installing sleek off-white double-glazed joinery, re-clad the house in a low-maintenance aluminium cladding.

In their master bedroom, the doors slide back to more glass balustrades so that they can sleep with the doors open all summer.

There is a second double bedroom overlooking the lake. Lee specified ample closets in all the bedrooms, and beautiful oak vanities in the family bathroom and en-suite. Her favourite is a stylish oval spa tub in the bathroom.

Electric awnings keep these north-facing rooms shady in the summer.

On the street-side of this floor a roomy study and a second corner living room also open to the private garden.

Lee uses one of the bedrooms for her office, and the second room, designed as another office for when Graeme worked from home, has become a media and guest room.

With separate street entrance, this would be a great home office, private from the rest of the house.

But right now there's a cunning murphy bed that drops from the wall, and the space has become much loved by their daughter's friends for sleepovers.

Downstairs, the guys have commandeered one half of the basement for a media room, complete with drop-down screen.

There's a full bathroom, a well-fitted out kitchenette and a generous laundry with benches and cupboards for all Lee's floral supplies, so this entire floor would make a great self-contained granny or nanny suite. The lawns lead down to the public parks and tree-framed views of the lake.

Lee has loved living beside such a vibrant reserve. The street slips into the first motorway entrance to the bridge, so access to the city or back to Takapuna is easy.

Lee will miss her chance at lake living, but is excited by the family's new beach-side home.

On the web link