Good things take time. That was the approach Ian and Helen Smith took to finding a section to build on, then designing the house that would do justice to the sea and hill views from this north-facing ridge at Sandspit.

"We went around the whole area up and down the coast looking at sections. This one was the nicest we could find," says Helen.

"We love our beautiful hill view just as much as the water view.

"We look right down over the new marina at Sandspit, and at the Matakana River, those are our views out the back, and it is where our decks are. And out the front you do get a look out over the Kawau Bay."


Section found, they started thinking about the design for the home that would be oriented to the north.

"It took us about 12 months to get our brief together," says Ian.

They worked with Warkworth architect Grant Neil.

"We gave him the brief that we wanted five bedrooms, a nice contemporary look, flowing through from the front door to the lounge, dining room, family room, and kitchen. We had two bedrooms upstairs and three downstairs," says Ian.

"We wanted to have a good roadside appeal and we wanted something that we would be proud to look at and proud to walk into."

The couple built their magnificent contemporary brick and cedar home with Elk roofing about 17 years ago. Inside, the home features beautiful timbers, macrocarpa ceilings, Australian beech flooring and American oak detailing in the kitchen and bathrooms.

Bay windows in the kitchen, family room and main bedroom are ideal spots to relax and enjoy the views.

"Even now we get a little thrill when we walk in the front door or drive into the garage," says Ian.

Helen adds that it was important to have a design that wouldn't date.

They chose to have three bedrooms, including their master suite, downstairs, with two more bedrooms above the triple garage.

This upstairs area of the home serves as their guest area and it has worked well over the years when the couple's Boston-based daughter came to stay.

"She has four children so we put a little kitchenette upstairs along with two bedrooms and a bathroom," says Helen. "That was great when they used to come down a lot but now the oldest one is at university and they don't come as often. So that is a reason we are selling and downsizing.

"You could use it as a B&B if you wanted."

For the main part of the home, from the front door you turn left to the dining room and lounge, straight ahead to the family room which is adjacent to the kitchen, or right to the master bedroom.

The kitchen was designed by Nicola Cumming and includes Bosch appliances plus a Fisher & Paykel fridge.

Opening to the large kwila deck with its heated pool are the family room, lounge and the couple's bedroom. For this outdoors area that gets a lot of use, there is plenty of overhang for shade from the sun and shelter from the rain.

The other two bedrooms on the ground level are along a passageway towards the garage and laundry.

Setting the house off beautifully is the landscaped garden which the couple have kept easy care. About half the property is in native bush, and there is a flower garden, hibiscus, fuchsia, and an orchard with apples guavas and peaches, plus a vegetable garden. Ian mows the lawn with a ride on mower.

Keen boaties, the couple have a boat at the nearby Sandspit marina which is where they say most people in the area go to socialise. In their spare time they go to the gym, walking and biking, and Helen does Pilates.

Warkworth is about 15 minutes' drive away.

"We can also walk down to two beaches one is Brick Bay and the other is Horseshoe Bay and they are both nice swimming beaches at high tide."

They say have been "absolutely rapt" with their home.

"Grant Neil had great vision and nice ideas, and he managed the construction of the house," says Ian.

"We had the time and the opportunity and the wherewithal to do what we wanted to do."

"We loved the whole project and it has been great but now it is time to downsize and someone else can enjoy the house," says Helen.

Ian thinks the home will appeal to a variety of people. "It would be a lovely family home. The school buses run to the local schools from the top of the road."

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