With businesses in Mangere, Kamaljit and Rupinderjit Singh had always lived nearby in suburban Papatoetoe and Manurewa, and never considered country living.
But that changed in in mid 2012, when they saw a stone and tile lodge for sale in the Drury subdivision on Harry Dreadon Rd.
"We saw the stunning house photos, we thought we'd just go and have a look, we didn't have to be buying it," says Kamaljit.
"When we saw it we thought 'oh we'd love to live here, but we can't afford it', said Kamaljit. "So when the agent called back, and we got it, we thought we'd won Lotto."
Kamaljit says it was hard to narrow down what appealed about the property, with its hill-top Y-shaped house that provides views across the rolling countryside to the city.
They loved the land, terraced and planted by the previous owners, who'd built the house in 2003.
The property had been subdivided from a farm, and the original owner still lives nearby and they regularly get together.
The Singh children, a daughter now 14 and son 17, have embraced rural living. Indeed their daughter's equestrian pursuits have prompted the family to move to a property with the potential for an equestrian facility.
"It's a tough decision, they [the children] don't want to go," says Kamaljit. "But [my daughter] she's done well, winning championships in Auckland and Waikato. I never thought I'd be camping and picking up horse poo!"
The Drury house, up a gated driveway, is divided into three main wings — living area, two-storeyed master bedroom, and more bedrooms with a rumpus area below.
The Singhs were struck by the beautiful construction that uses natural building materials — leaving them nothing to do but enjoy the house.
Although they had fun installing a flying fox that runs 80m from the bush at the back of the house, building vege beds and planting loads of fruit trees around the spreading lawn (a favourite for the kids to go down and pick fresh for breakfast).
The open-plan kitchen is tucked to one side of the living room. It has granite counter tops, rimu cabinets and matai-and-tile floor.
There's a conversation corner beside it and another with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. There is also a downstairs rumpus room/bar.
But it is the living room's cathedral ceiling, towering stone fireplace and wall of windows that really captured the family.
Upstairs is the spacious master suite with more country-to-city views. There's a small deck off the bedroom Sunsets are always spectacular, and the couple have angled the bed to make the most of the scenery. There's a small deck for morning coffee.
The stone and tile master bathroom and the other two bathrooms are classic, and all have heated fixtures.
Above the double garage is a loft room that everyone in the family uses for study/office. Downstairs, cedar bi-fold doors open to outdoor living spaces that include terraces, a deck and sheltered dining area under a pergola. In a lower corner of the yard is a spa pool in its own gazebo.
Above the double garage is a loft the family uses for a study/office.
The house is less than 10 minutes away from the children's school at Strathallan, and six minutes from the motorway to either Pukekohe or Sylvia Park shops for shopping.
"It's been a beautiful lifestyle," says Kamaljit. "We thought we'd retire here, but it's amazing what you do for your kids. Maybe we'll be watching [my daughter] her in the Olympics one day."