Gavin and Bronwyn were won over by their first sight of the home they were viewing three years ago at 11 Onaero Beach Rd. "It looked so cute from the road," Bronwyn recalls.
Two storeys, a verandah along the front and dormer windows in the roof, and a frame of established trees and shrubs - it all combined for a picture-perfect welcome. The couple saw a Cape Cod influence in the design that appealed to them.
Their walk through the house confirmed that first pleasing impression. "It had gorgeous bones ... and we had a vision of what we could achieve here," Bronwyn says.
That vision took shape quickly once they settled the sale.
It gained an extra dimension when they found a welcoming happy community in the coastal township. "The first week, neighbours left baking on the door step," Bronwyn remembers. "People out here still visit each other for drinks and nibbles ... that's something you don't always get in towns and cities."
The Onaero location was a drawcard for them when they were looking for another home. "It's only an 18-minute commute into town from here," says Bronwyn. "I wouldn't even call it a commute, really. It's a small sacrifice to pay for the living you get out here."
The vaunted Onaero micro-climate also appealed to the couple. "We both worked in town and it's noticeably warmer out here."
The beach is just a stroll down to the end of the road, and across the road is the Waiau Estate cafe with its dining and entertainment options. "It's fabulous ... we can spend the summer out on the deck listening to the music. It sounds like live music in your own back yard."
A fresh coffee, and a snack or meal is also an easy decision with those choices just over the road.
With the changes Gavin and Bronwyn have made to their property, however, it's just as tempting to stay put and enjoy the comforts here.
The couple refreshed the interior as their first priority. "We started on the inside and painted and recarpeted throughout."
A schist feature wall was also built up behind the woodburner in the downstairs living area - an eye-catching touch that adds texture to the decor.
With good living spaces and one bedroom downstairs and two generous bedrooms upstairs, the work inside was relatively subtle, creating a light airy feeling throughout. Dark stain on the exposed beams downstairs was covered with a coat of white paint adding a greater sense of space to the already spacious area.
Upstairs, the light decor works a treat, with views out across the Onaero surroundings from the two bedrooms adding their punch of colour. The master bedroom has its own ensuite toilet and French doors opening out to a balcony with a view down to the sea.
With the inside refreshed, Gavin and Bronwyn then tackled the outside, repainting the weatherboard exterior, but also taking a more dramatic approach to improvements out here.
A large deck was the first addition - a huge space opening from new bifold doors in the main living area. "It's 130sqm ... about the size of an average house," Bronwyn says.
The enhanced indoor-outdoor living makes entertaining easy, she says. "We've had up to 30 people here without any pressure."
They have been using the deck all-year-round. "It's sunny and really sheltered."
Windows open wide from the kitchen to allow easy communication - and food and drink services - to guests on the deck outside. The corner kitchen links well with the main living area and adjacent family space opening out to the original rear verandah and deck that was extended to connect with the new deck.
Gardens around the house have been thinned back from the original full plantings to make them easy-care, but there's still a pleasing variety of taller trees and lower shrubs that provide colour and texture through the seasons.
On the other side of the house, an extension project created the real key to this property - depending on your gender, of course. A massive three-bay garage replaced a conventional double garage, with the middle bay a tall element of the American barn-look design.
"It's the man cave ... it's perfect for men," says Bronwyn. "The big middle door is big enough for campervans or boats."
She's right, according to photographer Jonathan Cameron. "This is great. I'll buy the shed and just set up one corner to live in," he enthused.
Careful, Jonathan. The family might not welcome that suggestion. But I know just where he's coming from.
Behind the shed, a potager-style garden area has been created, with the raised garden beds an easy-care option for owners. They are productive, too, with plenty of healthy-looking vegetables filling them.
Between the potager garden area and the house, there's a new lush lawn. "That's Gavin's pride and joy - as well as the man cave," explains Bronwyn. "It's almost the size of a normal section."
The lawn was established to replace the old garage and an expanse of paving. Gavin had the cleaned level area hydroseeded and the resulting green sward is a testament to the success of this application.
The path in to the house past the garage is formed from crushed shell - the white material a contrast to the newly planted gardens either side. White is a feature around the potager area as well, with heavier limestone chip spread there.
Looking around house and grounds, Bronwyn declares it "perfectly set up for anybody".
The couple has completed a number of earlier property renovations, but this one was to be a place they could settle down in. "It's a lovely warm home and it's worked really well for us," Bronwyn says. "We saw it as a fabulous long-term family home; we wouldn't have built the man cave if we planned on selling."
McDonald Real Estate consultant Margaret Mangino appreciates the work the couple have put into this property.
"I can just imagine this at Christmas time ... and the summer parties," she says. "I was out here the other day for a while, and just sat here and listened to the sea. It's so easy just to blob out for a while and then go across the road to Waiau Estate for a coffee or a meal."
Margaret herself knows just how good life can be at Onaero. "I used to own a bach down on the beach front. But you couldn't get a better location than this as far as I am concerned.
"The beauty of Onaero is that you can only get so many people out here, and only so many down on the beach. It's not like Ngamotu Beach."
The improvements made here by Gavin and Bronwyn have made this property a great option for new owners, she says. "It has a garage to die for, upstairs bedrooms with views, and gorgeous living areas."
WHERE: 11 Onaero Beach Rd, Onaero.
HOW BIG: 1400sqm in land; 170sqm in house.
HOW MUCH: Expressions of interest invited (GV $635,000).
WHAT YOU GET: Appealing family home in a prime Onaero location, just a stroll from the beach and even closer to cafe dining and entertainment. Massive triple garage and workshop space to complement the comfort and space of the two-storey home.
MARKETED BY: Margaret Mangino at McDonald Real Estate - ph 06 754 9004 or 021 156 7760.
ON THE WEB: www.eieio.co.nz - ref W00069; www.open2view.com - ref 274509
SEE IT: Open home, Sunday, October 28, 1pm to 1.45pm.
- © Fairfax NZ News