Deep in the foothills of the Waitakere Ranges, there's a double helping of architecture in the adobe style of the plaster homes of Sante Fe, the city that sits in the Sangre de Cristo foothills of New Mexico.

Welcome to this plastered concrete block home and its adjacent luxury apartment and resort-style pool, two halves of a complex designed a decade apart by Auckland architectural designer Martin Whenmouth.

Together they comprise the sanctuary home of Jason and Rebecca Cann and their daughter BellaRose (9), and each separate stage involved extensive independent research by both Jason and his designer. Martin designed the main house for his first client back in 1993, creating the gallery-style home with its central timber colonnade that is the lobby, living and dining areas.



The bedrooms, bathrooms and laundry branch off one side. The kitchen, the study and the TV lounge open off the other.

Defining elements here include the plastered concrete block, macrocarpa beams and metal brackets, sarked ceilings and built-in features within curved walls and edges.

9 Laingrange Pl, Laingholm, Auckland. Photo / Ted Baghurst
9 Laingrange Pl, Laingholm, Auckland. Photo / Ted Baghurst

The nine, fixed-pane perimeter windows in the atrium moderate the extreme summer and winter temperatures.

"It works that way because it's all to do with the hundreds of years of design that have come up with this perfect set up for those hot climates," says Jason.

Here, the living area opens out to a paved/timber courtyard, a built-in barbecue and a stepped down fireplace with garden planting to suit.

When it rains here, rooftop rainwater pours into riverstone-covered drains, not from downpipes, but from the five half-terracotta rounds, known as spillers, that extend beyond the house.

"There are waterfalls all around. It is really quite wicked when it is raining," says Jason.

9 Laingrange Pl, Laingholm, Auckland. Photo / Ted Baghurst
9 Laingrange Pl, Laingholm, Auckland. Photo / Ted Baghurst

This, in all its authentic detail, is the house Jason stumbled on in 1999 when looking for a home with a difference.


He fell in love with the Sante Fe style and the more he researched, the more committed he became to extending his sanctuary in style. He has done so with the luxury upper-storey apartment that overlooks the in-ground pool, its "swim-up" bar and the 2m waterfall and its path underneath to the toilet and changing rooms.

Authenticity became his mantra, from his decision to bring Martin back as the designer in 2003, to his search for authentic features or the right tradespeople to replicate authentic fixtures.

Jason's payback is his pride in the custom-aged doors and the fortress-style double gates with its ship's bell and bespoke cradle.

Built of both concrete block and light-weight concrete panels, this three-storey annex has the same Sante-Fe blue joinery "that protects from evil spirits" and Saltillo terracotta floor tiles and hand-painted accent tiles inside and out.

9 Laingrange Pl, Laingholm, Auckland. Photo / Ted Baghurst
9 Laingrange Pl, Laingholm, Auckland. Photo / Ted Baghurst

The stairs, with bullnose edging and vibrant, tiled risers are among Jason's favourite features. They're the steps up to protected views across neighbouring land and protected bush out to Mangere Bridge and Onehunga.

The couple's hands-on creativity is in the coloured mosaic benchtops in the pool bar and in the bathrooms and kitchen of the main house.

Rebecca also repainted the interior of the house in a soft cream colour to complement the pale ochre exterior.

The years here for Jason and Rebecca here have been special. They know both places well, too, having lived in the apartment when BellaRose was a baby while renting out the main house.

"I'll miss the pool, the summers, everything," she says.

Their shift from here is due to Jason's posting in Wellington as general manager of Cable Price.

• 4 bedrooms, 3 bathroom, 3* parking spaces.
• Land 4017sq m, house 165sq m plus apartment, garage and sauna 120sq m.
• Auction: Nov 28.
• Inspect: Next Sat/Sun 1-1.45pm.
• Schools: Laingholm Primary School, Rudolph Steiner School, Green Bay High School.
• Contact: Lynn Lacy-Hauck, Ray White, 021 190 0611,