When Paul Walters sent his sister a photo of the house he and wife Shirley had just bought two years ago, she was impressed.

"It looks like somewhere Hollywood A-listers would live," she told him.

Visitors to the contemporary home are similarly wowed when they walk into the living room, where huge floor-to-ceiling windows frame a stunning view of the native bush surrounding the home.

"You really could be anywhere in the world," says Paul.


He and Shirley were won over by the home's stylish decor and thoughtful design, along with its spectacular location on a peaceful, flat, bush-clad section down a long private road in an enclave of other quality homes.

"It's a beautiful spot," says Paul. "You're just 20 minutes from the city, but it is like being in another world. It's relaxing and private, and the only thing you can hear are the birds.

We feel we've been so much healthier since we've lived here."

The couple, who moved to New Zealand from the UK 15 years ago, were looking for somewhere low maintenance for themselves and children Molly and James.

"We had never lived in a modern house before but the moment we came in we loved it," says Paul.

"You could tell that it was high quality and had been well thought-out," adds Shirley.

The cedar and zincalume house was designed by renowned architect Darren Jessop for former cabinet minister Tim Groser in 2009, with an extension added in 2013. It is oriented for the sun, and all the living areas and bedrooms have large picture windows or french doors.

"We were concerned it was going to be dark, being surrounded by bush, but it is a light house," says Paul.

It's also a warm one, thanks to three heat pumps, a gas fire and underfloor heating in some areas.

Paul and Shirley put in a woodburning fire because they like "proper" fires, but it wasn't really needed.

The open plan living/dining/kitchen area is large, with the 4.5m stud making it feel even more spacious. This part of the house opens out to a deck that is partly covered and has an outdoor heater, so can be used in all weathers.

At night, strategically placed lights illuminate the bush, turning it into a wonderland.

The kitchen has sleek dark cabinetry, top-of-the-range appliances (including an in-built coffee machine that can be pre-programmed) and plenty of storage space.

There's a powder room and separate laundry, and internal access to the double garage.

Molly's and James' bedrooms include generous wardrobes and large windows looking out on to the bush. The master bedroom has a large walk-in wardrobe and an en suite with french doors to a small private deck.

"You can have a shower with the doors open, looking at the nikau," says Shirley.

A second living area was added four years ago, and has an enormous picture window. A big-screen TV can be hidden behind sliding panels, controlled with a remote, and there is extensive cupboard space.

Paul and Shirley are selling because they want a property with space for the horse Shirley bought. She currently has to drive 40 minutes each way to look after it.

"I wish I could just pick up the whole house and take it to somewhere with a bit more space for my horse," says Shirley.

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