It's hard to believe the house Mark and Kathryn Manihera built in Arkles Bay is 21 years old, or that it has housed a family of six for more than two decades.
The contemporary, three-level home is on trend with its black-stained board-and-batten cladding, stucco detailing, aluminium joinery and Colorsteel roofing, and the floorplan is a clever combination of open-plan living and separate spaces.
Not only that, but it took only three months to build, the project went smoothly and it delivered exactly what the owners wanted.
Mark and Kathryn were in the market to buy an existing house but couldn't find anything to suit, so they bought a section and commissioned a friend who was an architect to design the house.
The brief they gave him was for as much space as they could afford, a design that would work with the natural elements of the site, spaces to suit a family with four children who also liked to entertain, with private outdoor areas.
"I wanted a really practical family home," Kathryn says. "So two things I asked for were level access from the garages and parking areas into the kitchen to make it easy to get the groceries inside, and a drying deck where I could dry clothes no matter what the weather."
The architect spent two days sitting on the land, getting a feel for where the sun and wind came from, and how the house could be made to work with the site.
The end result was a three-level home with "a bit of the Kiwi bach feel".
On the middle level is a big kitchen with stainless steel appliances, blue cabinetry with tawa detailing, and practical, highly polished particle board floors inlaid with tawa strips.
A long island bench provides added working and sitting space.
"That was a really unusual thing to incorporate when we built the house, but it has been great," Kathryn says. There's an adjoining dining room and casual sitting area, and all the spaces are open to the living room, which is down one level and opens out to the deck.
The floorplan works perfectly for family living and entertaining.
"We've had great Christmases and birthdays and other gatherings here," Mark says. "And with the street being a cul de sac and 99 per cent owner occupied, we've often had neighbourhood gatherings here as well. ."
Although the house worked exactly as they wanted, Mark and Kathryn made one change after five years, adding a master suite for themselves on the ground floor. It had always been on the original plans, but was a bit of a stretch for the budget at the time of building.
It has a walk-in wardrobe and a tiled en suite with a big, walk-in shower and twin vanities.
The bedroom has its own deck just above the larger family deck and spa pool area.
"The kids used to put on shows for us from this deck," Kathryn says.
Up top there are four bedrooms, a sitting area for the kids, an en suite and a family bathroom.
Mark and Kathryn are downsizing and have bought an apartment in Takapuna.
10 PALM COVE, ARKLES BAY
• 5 bedrooms, 3 bathroom, 2 parking spaces.
• Land 823sq m, house 271sq m.
• Price: RV: $1,100,000
• Inspect: Sun Sept 23, 12.45-1.15pm.
• Sept 27, 2pm.
• Schools: Whangaparaoa College, Stanmore Bay School.
• Contact: Todd Cooper, Harcourts, 021 941 676, harcourts.co.nz/OR9783/