Gillian and Roger Hill were sitting in a field in France in 2008 when they hit upon the idea of moving their Mangawhai bach off its section and building a home.
They were keen to get out of Auckland city. Roger was able to work from Mangawhai and they envisaged a lifestyle which would offer time with their adult family.
Gillian had a wishlist. She wanted a house that was easy to live in, with space for children and grandchildren that had its own bathroom and separate toilet.
"And I wanted it to be warm and sunny, with a place for the boat, and a roofed outdoor area."
She and Roger engaged a "wonderful architect who listened" and an excellent local builder. Within six months, they had their new family home.
Gillian is sympathetic to those who have a stressful building experience because this one, she says, was "wonderful and exciting".
The result is a house cleverly configured to provide sun, warmth, privacy, light-filled spaces and comfortable, open-plan living.
The stylish kitchen has stainless appliances, a gas hob, scullery and an island bench.
Gilliam and Roger chose bamboo flooring for the living areas — it's easy to clean, and the pale golden colour doesn't show dust.
There's a dining area adjoining the kitchen and an adjacent lounge with gas fireplace. The bamboo floors extend through this area as well.
All three living spaces face out to the roofed outdoor area, which Gillian describes as the best thing about the house.
There's room out here for a lounge suite and coffee table, six-seater dining setting, a barbecue and built-in gas fireplace.
Much of the area is under a sloping roof with two big skylights; and with pot plants, artworks and even a rug, it's a real outdoor room.
Guests and family members are catered for with three double bedrooms, study nook, bathroom and separate toilet, as per Gillian's wishlist. The master bedroom has a walk-in-robe and en suite.
The house has a separate laundry and double internal garage. Some of the original bach philosophy remains — there's a place for the boat and storage in a large shed for beach toys, golf clubs and bikes.
"We know we're never going to have anything like this again," Gillian says.
"But we've had nine lovely years here with great friends, and we've been able to walk to the beach, the shops and the golf course.
"It's only 700m to launch the boat and 50 steps to the estuary walkway."
Gillian, Roger and their extended family have made excellent use of the house. With six grandchildren arriving over the course of six years, they've taken full advantage of the beach lifestyle.
"Our adult sons love coming here and in the early evening they take a beer and walk across the road to the wooden seat on the water's edge and look at the view of the sand dunes."
Gillian and Roger are reluctant to move, but the grandchildren are pulling them closer to Auckland. They'll also take the opportunity to downsize — but with somewhere to keep the boat.
24 ROBERT ST, MANGAWHAI HEADS
• 4 bedrooms, 2 bathroom, 2 parking spaces.
• Land 830sq m, house 247sq m.
• Price: CV: $1,200,000
• Auction: Sept 20, 1pm.
• Inspect: Sat/Sun 2-2.45pm.
• Schools: Mangawhai Beach School, Rodney College.
• Contact: Robbie Robertson, Bayleys, 021959798, oneroof.co.nz/1185108