When Terry McCathie and Ursula Wyss tell friends that they live in an old barn near Matakana, their friends' jaws drop in surprise.

And when those friends come to visit, their jaws again drop — only this time it's in admiration of the home's wow factor and stunning views.

Terry bought this 1.4ha property with income stream about five years ago, not long after he met Ursula.

At that stage it had one home (or the old barn as Terry casually refers to it) and a 270sq m commercial Eurobarn.

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Terry explains: "I was living in Riverhead and thinking about retiring. And I have always loved the coast area up here and everything around.

"One agent said he had an icon property in Matakana that he reckoned would suit me.

"Five minutes' walk to Matakana, looking over the village and it had a big red house plus a big, beautiful man cave shed.

"As soon as I came up the drive, I knew this was the property for me. The house had been an old barn but they had pulled it down and rebuilt it beautifully inside. It has al fresco dining and four bedrooms inside, three with en suite.

"I had a great feeling of this is something I need to have.

"I told Ursula I wanted her opinion on this property. She thought it was beautiful.

"A few weeks later I rang and told her I had bought it. Our relationship went on from there and she sold her hairdressing business to come here and we are living happily ever after."

Terry says the cedar home just needed a tidy up and the right sort of furniture to do it justice.

The dining room has a big oak table that can take about 18 people, and a designer kitchen that opens to the al fresco dining area on the deck.

"That's all covered and looks out to the trees and where the land has been terraced.

"We eat outside on the deck from now through to June and we have a big gas heater if it gets cold going into late autumn.

"We have a master bedroom downstairs and the master bathroom. Upstairs you have three big beautiful bedrooms.

"We see the sunsets, the village, Sandspit Harbour and the beautiful countryside. It is spectacular."

Previous owners had terraced part of the land and planted thousands of trees. The property also has a water bore and storage tanks with a capacity of 80,000 litres.

The commercial barn at the front of the property is a steel structure with a red curved roof. There are ceiling fans, laminated round beams, and timber shelving on the walls for
storage.

Automated 4.2m high doors on two sides allow drive-through access.

After the commercial barn, separate driveways lead to the couple's home and the holiday house.

The holiday home is a Scandi-style Touchwood board and batten design the couple built.

This has two master en suite bedrooms, central living and kitchen all opening to the long deck offering views over the village and valley.

"Our guests can walk to the restaurants and villages in Matakana," says Terry.

"There are so many things that you can go to. We have the Sawmill Cafe and brewery, Goat Island marine reserve, Tawharanui, Brick Bay.

"Once the motorway goes through, Aucklanders will be here in 35 minutes.

"And you have one of the loveliest coastlines in the North Island at your doorstep.

"And the amount of people that come up here for weddings and want accommodation is crazy. Our holiday home has been open 108 weeks and I think it has been booked 107 of those weekends — and now we are getting bookings during the week.

"It has been more successful than we ever dreamed about, which is one of the reasons we are selling.

"We want to slow down a bit and travel more.

"I will be sad to leave it. Ursula is in two minds whether to go but she does like the colder climate and I have two gorgeous granddaughters in Kapiti Coast and a daughter and son-in-law who I would like to be closer to.

"If we go to Taupō we will see a lot more of them."

33 TONGUE FARM RD, MATAKANA
• 4+2 bedrooms, 3+2 bathroom, 2 parking spaces.
• Land 1.4484sq m, main home 313sq m, second home 106sq m, barn 270sq m.
• Tender: 16 Nov (unless sold prior).
• Inspect: Phone agent.
• Schools: Matakana School, Mahurangi College.
• Contact: Rod Bickerton, Harcourts, 027 435 5599; Cara Postlewaight, 022 153 8780, harcourts.co.nz/WW7348