As personal landmarks go, this property has been privy to several of the largest milestones in the life of Chris Street.

He built his first home here in 2000 and rebuilt it three years later on the same site. Two years after that in 2005, he won an 11th-hour $815,000 out-of-court settlement for the "remedial project" that required the demolition, redesign and rebuild of the leaky, structurally defective home.

Well settled in his "new" plaster cavity system home, life got even better for the retired commercial lawyer. Chris went on to meet his wife Della Laird and together this Wellington-based couple have created an idyllic weekend family retreat for them and their children Juliet, 4, and Georgina, 3 ½.

Twenty or so years ago, Chris drove these wider rural roads for 12 months before he found this 85ha land block with its choice of building platform options amid surrounding hills.


In keeping with the topography, he has overseen the creation of a U-shaped home of levels within levels that includes four living areas, three large upstairs decks and two sunken outdoor areas.

The house and its surrounds sit on 5ha. Outdoor amenities include the infinity pool and the floodlit sunken tennis court, with seamless long views to the Tararua Ranges.

Chris is still smitten by the shimmering first views of rural Wairarapa from the Rimutaka Ranges and, at the outset, he ensured that the arrival at his elevated property was just as special.

He planted macrocarpas, oaks and poplars that line the 750m driveway — and their form complements the poplar and pine trees at the end of the infinity pool and tennis court. Chris increased this land holding to 135ha that includes his farm.

The entry ceiling is cedar and the staircase as well the dining room and lounge floors are all rimu.

The rest of the ground floor is tiled, including the stepped-down informal lounge with Chris' grand piano and views out to the pool.

Recreating all of this afresh in the 2003 rebuild from the framing up cost more and took longer than the original build.

"The original house took six months to build and it took nine months to remediate it," says Chris. "It has been just perfect ever since. It is going to be a wrench to leave."

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