By Donna McIntyre
For Judy Cameron there was huge comfort in knowing that husband Ewen always did things well. And nowhere is that attention to detail more apparent in the beautiful home they built on their 3.72 ha property in the countryside at Ohauiti, about 20 minutes from the centre of Tauranga.
The couple have lived in the area for four decades, raising their three children here. Their son now runs the well drilling business his father set up.
In the early days, Judy and Ewen lived in Neewood Rd, Ohauiti, where the business is still based.
When they moved to Ohauiti Rd, they lived in a two-bedroom cottage and then a villa on the property until their new home was built.
Another couple living in Ohauiti were larger-than-life character Barry Crump and his wife Maggie.
Judy says the Camerons and Crumps and other friends enjoyed some great parties during these times. "My hun and Barry were the best of mates."
Ewen was regarded as a lovable character, too.
"Dad had one arm, one leg and one eye," says daughter, Deb. He had lost his leg in a motorcycle accident when he was 17 years old, and before he met Judy. Four years ago he lost his arm in a hay baler accident and later lost his sight in one eye.
It didn't stop him though, says Judy.
"When he lost his arm, he designed attachments for his artificial arm so he could chainsaw and weld steel together."
And when they decided to build this Hinuera stone and timber home 10 years ago, the couple used timber they had been collecting from the area. Kauri, totara burr, rimu and some massive robinia that had been felled.
They sawed this into slices, filleted it into stacks and left it to dry over the years in their sheds on the property.
Ewen said he wanted this home designed and built well.
"We didn't want any costly mistakes," says Judy.
Their builder Ron Butcher suggested they use Peter Lochhead of Te Puna for the design.
Peter's wife Lynette is an interior designer, and for the kitchen and bathrooms they used Caro Designs.
"We decided to build with Hinuera stone as it suited the landscape, is warm in winter and cool in summer, and low maintenance. The roof is shingles and we have copper spouting," says Judy.
"We looked at many a design of homes but settled on this one with changes to suit us, mainly for the fabulous views we have."
Those views are over the countryside towards Tauranga, the Mount, the harbour and sea.
Judy says as well as the city lights, they enjoy the lights of the visiting cruise ships. "My grandchildren think they are Christmas lights."
Their home has an open plan design with lofty timber ceilings for the living spaces, and a separate lounge through cavity sliders.
Corridors are wide as this was to be their retirement home, and they wanted a wheelchair-friendly layout should the need arise.
In the kitchen, they have used rimu for the cabinetry and surrounds to bring in warmth alongside the black granite bench. The kitchen has a scullery, and the appliances are Fisher & Paykel.
The wooden flooring is the robinia. "That is so beautiful with all the different colours and grains," says Judy.
The timber under the eaves they also milled. Steel beams support the roof and would easily support another level, says Judy.
All doors at the front of the house slide and stack open to allow a wide view of the scenery.
"We loved the idea of the indoor-outdoor flow, especially watching the sunsets."
The home also has their master bedroom suite, two more double bedrooms, a second bathroom and two smaller rooms side by side. These can be used as an office, hobby room or child's bedroom.
Because of Ewen's business, they have bores on the property including one supplying hot water.
They use this for the underfloor heating in their home, including the tiled spa area outside the master bedroom.
"And the cold-water bore is connected to the fridge and is fantastic for fresh cool drinks on summer days," says Judy.
Technology in the home - including the underfloor heating, central vacuum system and the surround sound in just about every room - is controlled from inside the large linen cupboard in the laundry.
Even the double garage is lined, painted, and carpeted with underfloor heating, and extends to a smaller garage with a toilet and basin.
The property also has three steel framed sheds and a paddock for grazing stock.
With Ewen's passing last year, Judy is now looking for a smaller home.
"This is a beautiful home we shared with so much love. I'm hoping another family will fill this home with love and passion like we did."