Annamieka Sutcliffe describes her glass and cedar home on 1.27ha in the countryside north of Auckland as something akin to an elevated holiday hideaway with wonderful views in every direction.

"Nothing feels better than coming off the motorway, 10 minutes down the road, and pulling in here, through the security gates, leaving the rest of the world behind," she says.

"It's sometimes hard to believe that we're only 25 minutes from CBD in off-peak traffic."

She and husband Phil, who have a paint business, bought the house four years ago. It had recently been completed - more or less - and they were still able to add to it, working on the basis of their own and their teenagers' needs.


The house is one level, built in an L shape. Only one room wide, it resembles a glasshouse in parts with entire window "walls", full-height doors that can be opened up completely.

"To give you an idea how well it integrates indoors and out, we occasionally have a bird flying right through from one side to the other," says Annamieka, an artist who produces French-style canvas blocks in one of the property's big outbuildings.

The kitchen design means she can stay in touch with the rest of the living area while cooking. And it is an easy kitchen to use with its extensive bench spaces, butler's pantry and new Westinghouse appliances.

"They've been turned on to check that they're going, but never used."

The dining and living spaces flow seamlessly beyond the kitchen and lead to four generously sized double bedrooms with high ceilings and great garden views. The two bathrooms (one is an en suite) are simple yet stylish.

"I like that the decor throughout is restful and neutral," says Annamieka. "It's really easy to put your own stamp on it by introducing different colours."

Though indoor living is easy, it's also pretty good outside the house where a large saltwater pool lies open to the sun.

Annamieka says swimming season often runs from Labour Weekend to May, when, strictly speaking, it is autumn.

"If you want it heated, you could install a heat pump. They're not expensive."

The original builder's wife had horses so there was an arena in front of the house, which the Sutcliffes turned into garden, with a flat patio that catches all-day sun.

They also added extensive garaging and landscaping, using New Zealand native plants. The four paddocks are easy to maintain.

The outbuildings cover approximately 140sq m so they're substantial, and have their own power and water supply.

The possibilities here are endless with spaces for boats, caravans, cars, horses and more, plus there's potential to run a home business or even turn part of the complex into separate accommodation for guests.

As an added bonus, there's a fish cleaning station - great for preparing your catch for cooking on the barbecue, without sullying the immaculate kitchen in the process.

Like many couples in their age-group, Annamieka and Phil are making a lifestyle change as their children are growing older.

They'll all miss cute Waitoki Village, with its pleasant community atmosphere and the fact that more extensive new shopping and leisure facilities are also close by.

The home is near to Waitoki Primary School, and buses run to other local and North Shore schools every day, making this an ideal spot for families.

"It's been a wonderful experience living here, and we've been in this general neighbourhood for 12 years now, but I think that everybody likes a change of scenery every now and then," she says.

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