In their children's books as well as in their daily lives, Mark and Rowan Sommerset believe in following dreams - with son Linden, 9, along for the ride.

Not surprisingly, their publishing company is called Dreamboat, and on Waiheke Island, close to the sea in a spot where the sun almost always seems to be shining, they've created a magical dreamlike property, which they say inspires and energises them every day.

The journey began five years ago when they first spied the 1399sq m section, beside a picturesque private vineyard, minutes from the water, on one side, and from Oneroa Village on the other.



"There was an old bach with outside toilet on the site and the owner had lived here for thirty years," says Rowan. "We pulled it down quickly, and had the land levelled."

Inspired by their favourite TV show, Grand Designs, the couple began a planning process and before long, a large, architecturally-designed home looked to be in the works.

"But then, it began to dawn on us that this actually wasn't what we wanted," says Mark.

"It was a tough decision and we took time out, driving an Airstream caravan around New Zealand for six months while we mulled over new ideas."

45 Korora Road, Oneroa, Waiheke Island. Photo / Supplied
45 Korora Road, Oneroa, Waiheke Island. Photo / Supplied

As they got used to living and sleeping in the 17sq m, classic trailer home, as it's called in the USA, the family realised that they enjoyed small-space living, with the freedom it brings.

"When we arrived back on the island we began again, but with a very different perspective this time," says Rowan.

They decided to start small, leaving future possibilities open.

The result was an eclectic combination of a cedar-clad barn a plywood interior and a large yurt - a circular building that's like a tent, but also has collapsible framing, so it can be moved from place to place. Nomads in Central Asia often live in yurts.


At 42sqm, the barn certainly fulfilled the Sommersets' dream of living in a small but very functional space with a simple yet effective kitchen and laundry, toilet and shower, plus a loft.

Rowan designed it, with help from an architectural draftsman, and it was built over the course of a year by local builder Dave Hastings, with Mark as his assistant.

45 Korora Road, Oneroa, Waiheke Island. Photo / Supplied
45 Korora Road, Oneroa, Waiheke Island. Photo / Supplied

"I learned such a lot during that time," says Mark, who adds that Linden took a keen interest in the process too.

"He'd be up and down ladders, checking what was happening and because he's home-schooled he got to see it all coming to fruition."

The yurt adds another interesting ingredient to the property. Made in Nelson, it's strong and solid with marine-grade canvas walls and a cedar trellis structure, yet it's warm and inviting too, with felted carpet and 40sqm of comfortable living and sleeping space.

"It's all consented and we were surprised how easy that process was," says Rowan.

While she and Mark have been very happy with just the two structures, the property has potential to grow much bigger, depending on what new owners imagine for it.

Now, the Sommersets can feel the thrill of embracing change and recognise that adventure is beckoning again.

• 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 2 parking spaces.
• Land 1399sq m, barn 42sq m, yurt 40sq m.
• Auction: Nov 24.
• Inspect: Sat/Sun 12.30–1.15pm.
• Contact: Charles Collins, Kellands, 021 376 095; Chelsea Nelson, 021 198 8809.