Ray White Whanganui has partnered with the Whanganui Chronicle to find Whanganui's most beautiful home.
We begin today profiling the six finalists of the Beautiful Homes Whanganui competition with public voting now open.
Mike Philo's riverside house gets most of its admiring attention from the other side of the river.
It was a Ray White real estate agent who entered 39 Riverbank Rd into the company's Beautiful Homes competition.
She spotted it from Somme Pde and drove around to ask for his agreement. He's had other people who see it from that side asking to buy it.
Retiring from a kiwifruit and avocado orchard in Katikati, Philo bought the house in late 2016. It had been built in the 1990s by an older couple for their retirement.
Philo has always lived in the country. He liked the style of the house and its rural feeling.
It came with 1ha of land, and a further hectare that is set down for an unformed road along the river.
"We have 2 hectares of land, but only 1 hectare is ours."
Two horses graze the land. It also has a pole that marks the starting point for rowing races and a flagpole, where the New Zealand flag is always flying.
"The winds beat them to death in about six months," he said.
The river provides lots of amusement - logs that come down and then are pushed up again by the tide, wild ducks that come to be fed, chattering girls out training for rowing races and daily whiffs of coal smoke as the PS Waimarie passes.
"We've got half a kilometre of river frontage. I don't think there's anywhere else in town with that much."
During a rowing race a marquee is set up on the Somme Pde bank opposite, and announcements are made.
"One of these days I'm going to buy a loud hailer and shout back at him."
Other visitors are pukeko, paradise ducks and spur-winged plovers, and a single resident seagull that stops by to see whether there is food out for him.
"He is enormous. He flies past the window on his side, looking in."
The house was built around 1992 and Philo said it would not be suitable for a family.
"There are no extra bedrooms, but it's got everything we need. It was probably considered very contemporary at the time."
It's conveniently located a mere 6km from his favourite pub, the Rutland Arms.
He has repainted it and added sunshades to the windows.
"Although the windows are tinted, the sunlight coming in is just too much."
The garden and "rampant" orchard also needed a lot of work.
"It was like a jungle in there."
He has made most of the changes, and was a surprised that his house is one of the six Beautiful Homes finalists.
*Six finalists in Beautiful Homes Whanganui competition will be featured in the Chronicle between March 22 and 27. To vote for your favourite visit the Ray White Whanganui website at rwwhanganui.co.nz.
Also in this series
Beautiful Homes Whanganui: Riverside setting has rural feel
Beautiful Homes Whanganui: 1910 Whanganui East villa gets modern twist
Beautiful Homes Whanganui: 1990s home designed to fit in with neighbouring properties
Beautiful Homes Whanganui: Property a 'custodial' honour for couple
Beautiful Homes Whanganui: Aramoho new-build inspired by Whanganui River
Beautiful Homes Whanganui: Levin couple find what they're looking for in Whanganui