Takako Martin had only two requests when her husband's architect son Neil Martin was designing their new home at Long Bay.
"I requested only two points. One that it was single-storey. And two, that it had a lot of storage. Therefore, I did not know what type of house would be built until it was finished."
To Takako's delight, Neil, now principal at Jasmax Auckland, incorporated Japanese components in the design while blending in with the New Zealand way of life.
Neil had visited Japan when his Dad was working in Tokyo and of course Takako has maintained her links with her home country, and is recognised in this country for her ikebana (Japanese floral arrangement) expertise.
"I came to Auckland in 1994 to marry Colin and since 1996 I have been the head tutor of Auckland Sogetsu Teachers Association."
She says Colin had bought this property in 1993 — the year we were engaged.
"He lived at Deep Creek Rd, Torbay, and he liked this area. I remember he said, 'I like to live in a big land'."
Their home has a simple design, and sits at ease on the land.
Inside, the layout has five areas: the main bedroom with its Japanese bathroom, a Japanese room, the kitchen and family room, the dining room and lounge with open fire, and two guest rooms.
From the main entry, the living areas and guest rooms are on the left and the main bedroom on the right. All rooms open to the outdoors, and have an incredible amount of light through big windows, even the kitchen.
A special feature is the Japanese room, designed exactly to the Japanese style and size.
The tatami mats and paper doors were imported from Japan.
"I use the Japanese room for tea ceremony gatherings, which is also a traditional Japanese culture. The lady guests all wear kimonos and the room looks gorgeous and very elegant.
As well as the double garage there is a three-bay barn. But Takako's favourite area is outside the home.
"My favourite part of the property is the bushes surrounding the house. By looking at the bushes with many different trees and green colours.
"These bushes surrounding the house give this property a calm and quiet feeling with 100 per cent privacy. The weeping cherry tree in the courtyard and other trees such as camellia, nandina and azalea show the four seasons remarkably. The courtyard is designed as a Japanese garden."
The area the house looks over has undergone rapid change lately with development of the new Long Bay Village, approximately 2000 dwellings plus retail.
"At night, we see the lights of the new Long Bay Village through the bushes," says Takako. "Before the land of Long Bay was covered by green grass but now is covered by roofs of houses."
The land use changes reach as far as their property as it is now is zoned for residential big lots and is sub-dividable.
But Takako has decided it is time to sell her beautiful home.
"It is two and half years since my husband Colin passed away and this is the time to sell the house."
106 VAUGHANS RD, LONG BAY
• 3 bedrooms, 2 bathroom, 5 parking spaces.
• House 280sq m, land 4.1ha.
• Expression of Interest: Closes Wed 17 April.
• Inspect: Sat/Sun 1.15-2pm.
• Schools: Long Bay Primary, Northcross Intermediate, Long Bay College, Kingsway College.
• Contact: Willi Bardohl, Bayleys, 021 192 2925.