Martin and Nicole Dunn thought about living in the south of France but came to New Zealand to visit friends and fell in love with Snells Beach.
Martin, an English racing car driver, met Nicole, from Germany, when he was living there selling cars to British forces.
He only meant to stay a few years but 18 years later was still there, although the couple travelled a lot through Europe for Martin's racing.
When they decided to move to France they couldn't agree on where to live; when they came to New Zealand for their visit, they hired a camper van and discovered Snells Beach on their second day.
Though they carried on touring they were smitten, so returned to the area and bought a lifestyle block in Matakana. They rented a house with "magnificent" sea views while their Matakana house was built.
The lifestyle-block lifestyle turned out not to be for them so they returned to Snells Beach and renovated a house, but found there wasn't enough room for all of Martin's toys.
When they found this section on the hill about six years ago, they thought "wow, this would give us everything", says Martin.
"It would give us magnificent views, lots of extra space, we could build the house as big as we wanted, there would be plenty of space for the kids, plenty of space for the toys, parking for the boat, for the tractor, the race car, so that's why we designed it like it is."
Nicole says she and Martin sat down and asked themselves what they wanted, "and we said we wanted a spacious, light, open area for the living and entertaining area, and we want to capture the sun with a sheltered patio, and we wanted privacy."
The couple came up with their own floor plan and Stonewood Homes built the house.
They placed their bedroom wing at one end and the children's wing at the other with family living in the middle.
One of the features they are most pleased with is the way the centre of the house is designed to take advantage of the sweeping sea views.
Glass stacker doors open to a deck at the front and more stacker doors open to the patio on the other side of the living area where the pool is.
This means you have a protected area to sit, away from the onshore winds, but because of all the glass, you can still look right through the lounge to the view, which includes Kawau Island.
Nicole says the ocean view is mesmerising and changes daily depending on what the weather is doing.
One of the aspects of their floor plan she loves is the big scullery and even here there is a sea view.
The floors are polished concrete and the high stud and wide hallways add to the sense of space — there is so much space Martin's Kawasaki ZXR racing bike is housed inside in a glass case surrounded by his trophies.
The Honda Civic car he now races is in the four-car garage alongside his Lancia Integrale, a classic rally car.
The section is large with raised gardens, plus there is about half an acre of bush.
The patio area has a spa pool under a gazebo with a skylight and the pool uses an ozone system to purify the water.
Martin and Nicole say there is nothing they would change about their house, but their children are grown up now, plus they have a holiday home in Noosa and a motorhome Martin built last year.
They don't need this large home any more but they love the design so much they will likely build the same floor plan again but on a smaller scale.