When Mike and Virginia Bitossi's children reached adulthood, the couple thought they'd downsize from a really big house to a big home plus a beach property.
However, they didn't want to forsake their scenic and sunny locale near Lake Pupuke — or the environment created for them by architect Paul Francis — so they asked him design a new home 500 metres away.
Virginia says: "We couldn't give up the views and the sun you get from this side of the lake."
The couple investigated modifying a 1960s bungalow on this site but that proved major so they re-sited it away.
Retired company director Mike says: "We loved the previous home Paul designed for us on Lake Pupuke Drive, so we called him again and we moved into this new home he designed for us 17 years ago."
Passers-by admiring this two-storey home often can't pinpoint its age. Its architecture enthusiast owners feel that's because it integrated then cutting-edge elements, such as prominent use of Alucobond aluminium composite panels and a seamlessly integrated, non-recessed front garage door.
Virginia says people often ask "where is your garage?"
Three cars fit off-street behind the front auto gate, one under a shade sail. A lift-out fence alongside screens a courtyard and a parking place.
The couple requested a timeless contemporary home with flexibility, sun and views.
They've loved the result; this becoming their longest-held home.
Their property on the corner of Lake View Rd and Kowhai St is unusual as its long boundary facing the view abuts a promontory of Killarney Park preserving the outlook.
Its recurrent architectural elements include cut-out rectangles used in walls and elsewhere, plus circles seen in their covered deck's skylight and bathroom mirrors.
It strikingly celebrates a northeast-facing view stretching from North Shore Hospital, across the lake, past the Pumphouse Theatre to Killarney Park and The Sentinel apartments.
Having owned at a beach and overlooking this lake, Virginia says: "We find living by the lake more tranquil."
She and Mike describe waking up to the lake; still and reflective like glass, and the visual delights of yachts, rowers, twinkling night lights and moon's reflections.
Mike says: "It's truly uplifting. And we think Paul's design is stunning."
Taking a few steps up from the front door reveals the panoramic view from the lounge-dining-kitchen, an easy entertaining space opening to a covered deck. A crane lifted their grand piano into this space, which incorporates a ceiling angling from lofty heights and a gas fireplace. Virginia appreciates her office nook in the kitchen admiring the water through a corner wall cut-out.
In this level's view-swept master suite they took European inspiration putting an additional basin-vanity for Virginia in their dressing room, which neighbours an en suite and separate toilet.
Downstairs has lake views, too, their second lounge, three-bedrooms, two-bathrooms plus laundry. If desired, this lounge with its own kitchen and entrance can be shut off creating a spacious self-contained one-bedroom, one-bathroom set-up.
Overseas guests love staying downstairs, which originally housed the Bitossi's son during university years. Later their daughter's family grew from four to five here when she had a third child while her family lived here while renovating their own home.
Generous storage includes two storerooms off the carpeted internal-access double garage.
Beautifully landscaped and fenced grounds incorporate lawn, raised vege beds and
some original plants including grapefruit and a prolific climbing rose.
The couple find the location sheltered, being down from the crest of the hill, and handy to Takapuna's beach and shops and the motorway.
The frequent travellers are ready to downsize further.
15 KOWHAI ST, TAKAPUNA
• 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 3* parking spaces.
• Land 564sq m, house 336sq m.
• Inspect: Sat/Sun 1-1.45pm.
• Tender: Closes July 25, 4pm (unless sold prior).
• Schools: Takapuna School, Takapuna Normal Intermediate, Takapuna Grammar, Westlake Boys', Westlake Girls'.
• Contact: Pam Riley, Barfoot & Thompson, 021 949 401, barfoot.co.nz/759019