For many people, the words "suburban apartment development" conjure up an image of a big block that dominates the neighbourhood.

But that is most definitely not the case for a new development of 17 luxury apartments being built in a quiet residential street in Orakei.

Satori has been carefully designed to make the most of its sloping site, with the four levels of apartments stepping down the hill instead of stacking on top of each other from street level. That means from the road, it will not stick out from surrounding homes.

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"I would hazard a guess that no one will think there are 17 apartments there," says Jim Castiglione, the managing director of Satori developer Urban Resort. "We wanted it to blend into the residential area and sit alongside the neighbouring homes, rather than towering above them. It is very subtle."

Alongside an elegant curved wall, what looks like a double garage will in fact be two vehicle lifts that will take cars down to the basement parking area. This clever feature means a large part of the site won't be taken up with a driveway down to the car park, so there is more room for the apartments, which are a mix of one bedroom lofts, two-bedroom residences and a three-bedroom penthouse.

A huge amount of thought has gone into the planning of Satori since Urban Resort bought the site, formerly home to a brick state house, earlier this year.

"I don't think we could have found a better spot," says Jim. "It is at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac on an elevated site adjoining the Awarua Reserve, and has the most incredible views over Orakei Basin and Hobson Bay to the city. It faces north/north-west so it gets lots of sun. It really is an excellent location."

Such a good site deserves a high-quality development, and that is what Urban Resort are all about, says Jim. "We are always looking at how to achieve excellence in design, in location, in the materials we use that creates stunning living spaces."

Satori is a Japanese Buddhist term for awakening and perfectly sums up the emotions Jim hopes people will feel when they first arrive at Satori — surprise followed by delight and a sense of enlightenment. Several trips to Japan inspired Jim to build a development with the balance of calmness and serenity that the Japanese do so well.

Designed by Australasian architects Peddle Thorp, Satori will be a mixture of grandeur and simplicity; style and function; luxury and value.

The apartments will feature top quality fixtures and fittings: stone vanities and benchtops in the bathrooms and kitchens, while living rooms will have gas fires with stone surrounds. There will be separate media rooms or studies and enclosable winter gardens or courtyards.

A special feature of the project is the separate lounge for all residents to use. It will have a full-sized kitchen, large dining table, library and multiple soft-seating arrangements where people can gather with their neighbours or their guests — there will be a booking system so it can be reserved if required. A large terrace will have a barbecue, and be the perfect spot for entertaining.

"We could have used the space to put in another apartment but set it aside as an area where people can come together because it is important to us to be able to build a sense of community," says Jim.

Another key goal is to create a sustainable building that gives residents the benefits of lower utility bills as well as leaving a smaller carbon footprint. Durable low-maintenance pre-cast concrete is being used in construction and the roof was designed to accommodate solar panels to power common areas and water heating.

There will be an onsite water conservation system and the garage will include charging conduits for electrical vehicles. Choosing a site close to public transport was a deliberate move.

Outside, 40 per cent of the site will be landscaped with New Zealand natives, adding to the sense of harmony.

"When I first saw the site, I thought we needed to design something that makes the most of this spot and is done sensitively, with Urban Resort's commitment to sustainability, excellence and quality," says Jim.

"I think we have been able to do that, and I am very proud of Satori."

Satori, 27 Grace Street, Orakei
• Satori, at 27 Grace St, features 17 apartments in a quiet residential cul-de-sac in Orakei, with views of the Orakei Basin, Hobson Bay and Auckland city skyline.
• Options: Mix of one-bedroom lofts, two-bedroom residences and a three-bedroom penthouse (with a fourth bedroom option) ranging in size from 85sq m to 226sq m.
• Price: One bedroom lofts start from $1,095,000 and two-bedroom residences from $2,015,000.
• Body corp: From $2930 a year.
• Parking: Options for one or two parking spaces.
• Inspect: Satori's display suite is at Bayleys Remuera office, 50 Remuera Rd, open Monday to Friday 8.30am-5.30pm or Saturday and Sunday 11am-2pm, or by appointment.
• Auction: Oct 6, noon, on site (unless sold prior).
• Schools: St Thomas School and Selwyn College, plus close to private schools including King's School and Saint Kentigern's Boys and Girls Schools.
• Contact: Louise De Martin, 021 222 9928, Robert Ashton, 021 633 398, Warren Fenning 021 274 1336, oneroof.co.nz/1191817