On Hamilton's eastern fringe, Matangi is a popular place for those seeking a rural retreat. The old dairy factory that stands tall in the township is a rustic reminder of its rural past.
The number of farmhouses has diminished over time, replaced by large lifestyle palaces that place a premium on comfort over style.
There are exceptions to this rule, however. Hamish Lamb had a vision for the sort of house he wanted to live in. His vision was so powerful, he designed the place himself and even convinced his partner, Kim Edwards, to come and share his dream.
It's obvious there's something different about the house as you drive up to it. Two large, sleek sloping roofs are the standout feature, and the house smacks of modernity and style. Constructed from zincalume and linea weatherboard, it's a place wearing all the latest design concepts.
When you walk inside, the initial impression is confirmed. The interior is tastefully decorated in a streamlined, minimalist fashion. In-built features like the stereo and entertainment system mean there's nothing to get in anyone's way.
The main living area has a complete lack of restriction. There are virtually no walls and the high roof incorporates a mezzanine floor. The lounge flows into the kitchen, then the conservatory, into another living area and even up to the master bedroom. Natural light enters from the large windows in every direction, enhancing the feeling of freedom and space.
'The concept of a mezzanine level for the master bedroom was the first idea I had for the house, ' says Lamb. 'Everything else developed from there.'
It's a stunning feature, meaning the couple wake up each morning overlooking the rolling Matangi countryside. When the sun is out, the whole interior is bathed in light.
The north-facing property allows for solar heat to help cut back on the energy bills. This also adds a cozy feel to a place that otherwise might lack it. The couple added a conservatory to the house after it was built in 2006, including a fireplace, making it the place to be on a winter's afternoon.
Lamb didn't have any background in design, either. He just knew what he wanted and found a builder - Brett Walters - talented enough to help him realise it.
The feeling of freedom extends to the outside - and a sliding glass wall opens up the house to the outdoor socialising area. There's a hedge, giving the area privacy. An all- weather outdoor pool table bears witness to the couple's love of entertaining.
'We love hosting barbecues in the summer, and the size of our kitchen makes it nice and easy, ' Edwards says.
Two ovens certainly help, as does having a dedicated wine fridge. There's also enough bench space to host a large gathering. 'Our bench-top designer said the bench top we ordered was the largest he had ever seen, ' Edwards says.
There are other big constructions on the one-hectare property. Lamb had a three-bay shed built - complete with a fully enclosed workshop - for the purpose of working from home. There's also an office adjoining the double garage for the same reason, three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The main en suite bathroom follows the same concept of the rest of the house - space. It has a slick-looking, roomy shower - with two shower heads.
Lamb's personal touch to the property even extended to making sure his mother was housed on it.
The traditional term is "granny flat" but it doesn't quite fit here. The couple refer to it as a cottage - but it's more a fully functioning two-bedroom house. Designed by Jennian homes with full disabled access, Lamb is able to keep an eye on his elderly mother.
Not that the sprightly 82-year-old needs much looking after. She still has enough energy to take care of the couple's gardens and massive lawn.
With business, family and lifestyle needs catered for at home, it seems like Lamb and Edwards have created their own little slice of paradise. The country lane they live on, with its lovely hedges and manicured lawns, only reinforces this idea.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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