If you're going to enlist the whole family to design a new home from scratch, it pays to have a project manager to pull it all together. In the case of the Sahimm Razak family, embarking on their second build in 2005, that job fell to engineer dad and husband Mohammed.
"This was the house that the family was going to live in forever, so he wanted it to be the best," says younger daughter, Zaynah Nisa. "He planned it to be home for all of us as an extended family home. We spent many many long nights over it, it was a real labour of love."
Many of the features in the three level house were on Mohammed's dream list, but he did insist on a large double kitchen for wife Atrul. She loves cooking for a crowd, but, in the style of her Fijian Indian background, has a second bench and cooktop in the laundry which can be sealed off from the main kitchen.
In the main kitchen, she got her desired generous servery bar for spreading buffets out for diners, with the main cooker and sink tucked around the corner to keep mess less visible — and give the cook a grandstand view across the valley to the rolling green hills of Rosedale park on the other side of the main Hugh Green Drive. The house comfortably accommodated 20 visiting friends and family for weddings.
Many of Mohammed's favourite features are visible, such as the high stud ceilings and curving sweep of stairwell in the entry hall, a curved feature wall of glass bricks, and expansive windows with arches and bays to frame the urban and park views.
But he was also thinking of hidden features too — the exterior is long lasting and maintenance free Monier brick, with cream Insulclad walls on the street front (a cavity-based system on treated timber framing).
There is insulation and a solar-heated hot water system on the roof (supplemented by gas).
Both mother and daughter say they were allowed to tweak the plans once Mohammed and his architect friend had sorted out the basics.
It was all hands to digging the grounds to excavate a series of terraced gardens at the back of the house, home to prolific herb and vege gardens for the keen cooks, and both women laugh that Mohammend had a strict routine of cleaning and maintenance to ensure that the 13-year-old house still looks brand new.
The main living floor accommodates the open plan kitchen, dining and living rooms — the latter in a curved bay window to make the most of the views. Atrul got to indulge her love of luxury fabrics with the multilayered swags of sheer and rich velvet-look curtains, trimmed with tassels (the fabric was carried back from America in 12 suitcases).
Smaller sitting areas — a curved terrace, an enclosed sunroom, a sitting area at the top of the stairs — created quieter spaces away from the main living. Also on the ground floor is a bedroom, bathroom and guest loo, as well as a large room that was used as an office, but is wired for media room or could become a fifth bedroom.
Despite their plans to live there forever, the family is selling to move city-side to be closer to work as both girls now work, so Mohammed and Atrul are moving so the family can stay close to each other.
"It's been a very good neighbourhood, people share food, we all have a hangi together," says Atrul. "It's very secure, and close to shops and works, it's amazing how much it's changed since we've been here."
46 KILLYBEGS DRIVE, PINEHILL
• 6 bedrooms, 4 bathroom, 3* parking spaces.
• House 399sq m, land 699sq m.
• Auction: Oct 14, 4pm (on site).
• Inspect: Sat 11-11.30am and Sun 2-2.30pm.
• Schools: Pinehill Primary, Northcross Intermediate, Rangitoto College.
• Contact: Rachael Bridger, Harcourts, 0275 860 070, harcourts.co.nz/MJ39459