Builder Ross Cato shies away from the uniform blandness offered in many spec houses, believing homes should create an emotional response.

Ross, who's been building for 40 years, says: "It's fine if people like or dislike a home, but it should make them feel something."

He wove subtly industrial and barn-style influences into this new Snells Beach home which hits a balance of offering personality without being over the top. Ross is heavily involved in his homes' design, drawing up what he wants before enlisting a draftsman.

"I felt like this prominent corner site on the corner of Dawson Road and Kia Kaha Drive would suit a distinctive home.


"This land used to be farmland, and there was a cowshed on the site next door so the barn-style influence is appropriate."

Ross' builder-son Simon worked alongside him to create the home. Ross will eventually build a home next door for his eldest daughter and her husband who teaches at Snells Beach Primary School across the road from this house.

An upmarket front post and rail fence reveals easy-care grounds with enough space for kids to play cricket or rugby, supplementing dedicated outdoor living spaces.

The home is made of a combination of brick and stained vertical ship-lap cedar, accented by its dark hued garage door, joinery and long-run roof of various heights. It enjoys privacy from the primary school thanks to the fencing but elsewhere looks out across a semi-rural outlook encompassing a good peep of the sea.

The entry foyer reveals attractive French oak flooring used throughout living areas, and an internal wall of lime-washed brick.

Your eyes go upwards to admire the high, angled, raked ceiling in the kitchen-dining-living spread.

Ross says: "I wanted this grand, lofty type feeling through this main part of the home."

More lime-washed brick defines the separate lounge off to one side with gas fireplace, which can be closed off using the distinctive glass and steel doors Ross and Simon

When Ross pictured the industrial aesthetic he wanted to achieve with the steel sliding doors against the brick, he conjured up memories of London's St Pancras Station.

Bifolds open up the living spread on two sides to an outdoor entertaining courtyard and deck.

A trio of re-finished warehouse-style pendant lights hang above the kitchen's long island topped with composite stone. Also in the kitchen are charcoal-metallic accent tiles, a 900-wide stove and integrated fridge.

There's room for an freezer of fridge-freezer in the adjoining scullery where there's a sink deep enough to handle platters.

The home's layout includes four bedrooms including the master with en suite and walk-in wardrobe. One of the other three bedrooms opens to the deck, and all have outfitted double wardrobes.

These are accompanied by another bathroom including a free-standing bath plus a separate powder room.

The laundry area with bench space is incorporated into the internal-access double garage, which has a retractable pull-down staircase up to loft space. The bus to Mahurangi College leaves across the road, Warkworth is 8km away and you can launch a boat from Dawson Rd.

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