Tony Jones isn't exaggerating when he says he and his wife Anne had been looking for the right building site for years before they found this property on Plummers Point Rd, near Tauranga.

They specifically wanted a property on this peninsula, between Te Puna and Omokoroa, about 15 minutes north of Tauranga, and bought this one about a year before they sold their orchard.

That was 13 years ago, when the existing house was an amalgam of a brick lower storey and a newer top. "The house didn't appeal but the site really got us," Tony says.

Plummers Point is considered an idyllic coastal community and Tony and Anne were delighted with being so close to the water. "You just have to cross the road for a swim," he says.

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They used a designer to come up with a plan for the house, and it was transformed from its original state into a contemporary character home of weatherboard, render and corrugated iron, with a number of paved and covered outdoor living areas. It sits at the end of a concrete driveway behind imposing concrete walls and iron gates, guarded by three mature palms on the lawn. Despite this touch of grandeur, the house and garden have an open, welcoming look.

Tony and Anne needed four bedrooms and big living areas, and the original house was reconfigured to meet their needs. The open plan kitchen/dining area is now the focal point, having been extended to create a light, open space positioned for all day sun. The kitchen is partly enclosed by a stainless steel island bench and has stainless appliances and ample storage.

"Anne tells me it's easy to work in," Tony says, smiling.

There are doors from the dining area to the terrace, and the casual sitting area, down a couple of steps, opens with bi-folds on two sides. An adjoining lounge has a more formal atmosphere.

The standout floors throughout the ground floor are black tawa, chosen at the time, Tony assumes, because they were less expensive than the lighter tawa. Now they're highly sought after and he had to source additional supplies to complete the renovation.

The carpeted master suite upstairs has a bathroom, a spacious sitting area and a private balcony.

"It's the perfect place to escape," says Tony.

Separate from the main house is a one-bedroom self-contained cottage which was always known as the Cook's Cottage because a previous owner employed a live-in cook. It's secluded behind a hedge and has its own lawn and garden areas, and has been rented to the same tenant since Tony and Anne bought the property.

The gardens around the entire property have been thoughtfully designed with a curved feature wall that gives it form, separation and elevation.

Broad steps lead from the paved patio outside the casual sitting area up to a formal garden area, while other paths and walkways give access to other garden rooms and functional areas.

"We had a landscape plan done when we came here, that we adhered to," Tony says.

"It gave us a great vegetable garden and an orchard with fruit year round. It's all fenced and that made it ideal for the grandchildren."

A health issue that kept Tony from driving for a while is forcing this reluctant move.

"Anne had to drive me everywhere and that was an activity that paled quite quickly, hence the decision to be closer to town."

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