Wanting to try their hand at living on a lifestyle block, Nigel and Shelley Lowe decided to start out cautiously, with a manageable size of section.
They bought this 6000sq m elevated property at Bombay, down a quiet country road and surrounded by farmland, in 2015.
"We wanted to have a lifestyle property not too big because we weren't sure if we would enjoy it," says Nigel. "We could have some animals because the kids loved animals. And if we liked it, we would go bigger."
The land has meant their son Riley and daughter Maddison could keep two chickens and two sheep. The Lowes chose Bombay because it was central.
"It was close to my work. We didn't want to be too far out; it comes down to travel time," says Nigel. "We are 14 minutes' drive to Pukekohe, about four minutes' to the Bombay onramp and offramp to the motorway, and about 10 to 12 to Drury."
For the build, they used Latitude Homes where they could buy the home as a kitset or completed to enclosed stage.
"Latitude's sales guys were down-to-earth, and weren't pushy. They were good with the changes we wanted to make, and nothing was any problem to them."
The couple chose the enclosed option that was completed up to the Gib-stopping stage. Nigel, a qualified builder, then took over and finished the inside.
"It is a brick house with Colorsteel roofing in ebony. We have black aluminium joinery to go with the roof. We wanted four bedrooms and, because we are big people — I am 6ft 7 [2m] and my wife is 6ft 2 — we wanted a big open plan area and high studs. I think it is 2.5m stud.
"This design has good indoor-outdoor flow, and the media room is separate to the lounge, so the kids can go into the media room if they want to watch a movie."
Nigel says his home feels open and relaxed.
"The house is built back-to-front. Our living area is facing the view and the bedrooms are facing the road. The master bedroom faces out north. We get the sun in the morning coming into the bedrooms and in the evening, it comes into the master bedroom and the living area, whereas normally the living areas get it through the day. But this works out brilliantly."
The living area and the master bedroom open to the 130sq m deck where there's outdoor furniture and Nigel has built a woodfired pizza oven.
It's also a layout that works well for entertaining, with the kitchen and living area opening to the deck. The tall couple had the stone-topped island bench built 50mm higher than normal, and the sink is big enough to fit oven and pizza trays. There's an Electrolux five-burner gas hob and oven, combination oven/microwave, Bosch dishwasher and Samsung fridge/freezer with iced water.
The interior walls are painted Resene Half Truffle in the living area and Quarter Truffle in the bedrooms. "Everything goes with it. You don't know what furniture you are going to get. The colour is neutral and modern."
The home is easy to clean with tiles in the living area, kitchen, dining and bathroom plus they chose Rhino SmartStrand carpet for the bedrooms.
In just 15 minutes they can warm every room in the home with the Panasonic ducted heat pump air conditioning system.
Also, on the property, there is a 60sq m shed.
"Half of that is a man cave/sleep-out/child hangout. The other 30sq m are for the toys, the ride-on, the weed-eater and garage, but the wall between them can be easily moved to open the space. And we have a big turnaround area, which can hold 12 cars without any problems."
Completing the property is the landscaping around the Biolytix septic system and its appearance is kept tidy and easy to maintain with the black bark on top of the garden.
But now the family are selling to move out of Auckland.
"My wife and I are teachers, but we want a new adventure and we are moving to Central Otago."