When John and Sandy Grafton say the creation of their home in semi-rural Waimauku was a family affair, that's exactly what they mean.

"My brother, Chris Meikle, designed it and my father Mick built it for us," says Sandy.

"John's a painter and decorator, so he's always looked after that side of things — and I guess I'm the interior designer."

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The house, that was completed in 1983, is a showcase of timbers, native and imported, with a sprawling layout ideal for the Grafton family — who had three young children at the time.

"My father was a focused, details man," says Sandy. "He loved having the opportunity to add in all his good ideas as the house took shape."

The Canadian cedar-clad house with its tiled roof stands on a generous 4947sqm site, reached via a long winding driveway. John and Sandy planted every single tree and bush on the property and the result is a private, tranquil oasis.

There are four bedrooms, a loft that has loads of potential in terms of possible uses, and an integrated hairdressing salon where Sandy has cut and styled hair during her 36 years in residence. "A new owner could operate the salon in the same way but it could also be good for other types of home business," she says.

The original kitchen was all wood, but John and Sandy replaced it about 12 years ago with a design by Maggie Hill at Innovations.

They've also redone the big family bathroom that features island kauri walls, a large bath, and under-floor heating.

One of the house's biggest assets is the vast amount of living space spread over the family room, dining area, lounge and an upstairs sitting room where John and Sandy love to sit and read in the sun.

The master suite has a powder room, walk-in wardrobe and access to a private deck. The other three bedrooms are concentrated in their own discrete area to the side of the dwelling, and also have decks adjacent.

"You mightn't believe this, but there are 22 French doors throughout the house," says Sandy.

With the added bonus of a large utility area that includes a shed and garage, it seems the architect was ahead of his time in terms of appreciating the huge Kiwi love for effective indoor-outdoor flow. As well as the extensive decking, John and Sandy's house is surrounded by brick-paved patios that catch the sunshine at different times of the day.

"It's the most satisfying house you could imagine," says Sandy.

With their brood now long flown, the couple are looking ahead in a practical way.

"We do love this home but, like most people of our age, we know that it makes sense to downsize while we're still fit and active," says John.

62 MURIWAI RD
• 4 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 2 parking spaces.
• Land 4947sq m, house 230sq m.
• Inspect: Sat/Sun, noon-2.45pm.
• Contact: Bronwyn Nicholls, Barfoot & Thompson, 027 483 3344; Steve Wooller 021 628 875.