The adage about judging reading material by the dust jacket is equally apt in the real estate business.
Viewed from Links Drive, the broad thoroughfare that winds through The Links development in Waiwhakaiho, number 14 is distinctive. With it's neat landscaping and attractive mix of rich oiled cedar, brick and block exterior, the house is attractive, but the real wow factor that owners Dennis and Sue have created here lies through the front door.
The designer porch provides shelter from inclement weather and leads into an intimate foyer which is floored by natural stone tiles, every one of which is different and offers an insight into the real heart of Taranaki.
A self contained 'guest room' is a few steps away to the left with it's own ensuite and kitchen closet area with filtered water. 'We designed it as a self- contained area for long-stay relatives or guests, ' Dennis explains. 'They can be independent down here - or come on up to the rest of the house and socialise.'
Some people would never want to leave the garage. This expansive area could house two large cars comfortably with ample room left over for storage, mini gym or workshop.
Dennis and Sue had the house built two years ago, but health issues are forcing them to move on.
A lift, which can carry up to 300kg, provides an easy way upstairs. 'We often put the groceries in the lift and meet them upstairs,' Dennis says.
But two short flights of stairs do the same thing and lead into an area that seems to go on forever. The walls are almost solid glass and provide a range of vistas from the blue sea sparkling to the south west, lush pasture at the back fence and a snow- beanied Mount Taranaki seeming to fill the wall of the 'media room' in the south.
That's another adage in Taranaki real estate - if you can see the mountain, you get the wind. 'It's true,' laughs Dennis.' We're elevated and a bit exposed here, but we designed the house to provide shelter from that direction.'
The expansive glass surfaces are all double-glazed to minimise heat loss, he explains, and the aluminium-framed sliding joinery is all industrial quality because it also provides structural strength to the house. Extra-heavy fibreglass insulation also contributes to making this a warm and welcoming area.
The large lounge/dining/ kitchen area is the heart of the household. Luxuriant dark grey carpet is made of top-quality nylon: 'It doesn't fade in the sun and will spring back if there's been furniture sitting on it for any length of time,' Sue says.
Extra-thick underlay contributes to the luxurious feeling underfoot ...this is a house that invites barefoot appreciation. A border of light grey stonex tiles creates a theme for the entire living areas of the household.
An inset gas fire can be started or adjusted from the sofa by remote and the couple say that its heat-boost function soon warms the whole area. At the other end of the room, the airy kitchen looks down on the street and features two electric ovens, one of which is self-cleaning. An electronic control adjusts the height of the stand-alone dining surface - from kid-size breakfast bar to dinner-party elevation with the press of a button.
The barbecue area and pool surrounds outside exude warmth, even on a bleak winter's day, and the fibreglass saltwater swimming pool, which measures 4.5m x 10m x 1.8m deep looks pretty alluring.
'The grandkids (aged 5 - 14) just love it here,' Sue says. 'They spend hours in the pool and the streets are nice and quiet for bike riding or skateboarding ... or we go down to the walkway and swim in the sea.'
The couple can walk in to shop at The Valley or do a walkway circuit to Fitzroy and back, or stroll over to the New Plymouth Golf Club for a round or two. 'As Links residents, we get free social membership at the club,' Dennis explains. 'We can walk to the tennis courts - or it takes us 45 minutes into the wind wand on our bikes.'
The couple call the lounge area which looks out at Mount Taranaki, the 'Media Room' and, like all rooms in the house, it is wired for television, phone and data. 'We future-proofed the house as much as possible,' he adds.
Four steps lead up to a tiled passageway and a trio of bedrooms, with the master bedroom first on the right. 'We tiled the passageway so the kids didn't drip all over the carpet on their way to and from the pool,' Sue says.
The glass windows slide open, as in the rest of the house, for the ultimate in indoor / outdoor flow. 'We even grow tomatoes here in summer,' Sue laughs.
From a bedroom window, we watch a pukeko nonchalantly bathing in a drinking trough over the back fence.
A sensor automatically switches the lights on for the wee ones nocturnal trips to the toilet and Dennis rushes to demonstrate the security system. Anyone who pushes the front door button is pictured on video screens in the kitchen and upper bedroom area and the front door can be opened or closed to admit/ exclude them.
Regular residents punch in their own security code on the door side keyboard.
Clever use of natural light is a highlight of 14 Links Drive. The small office area has an internal window to admit light on one wall - and another window to let more light into the adjacent walk-in wardrobe for the master bedroom.
The bedroom is a big, yet intimate area with an adjacent ensuite which is tiled from floor to ceiling - as are all three of the house's bathrooms. The ensuite also has a walk-in shower area.
The solar heat and light which stream into the house, are supplemented by electric under- floor heating and upstairs and downstairs Infinity gas water- heating systems. Four heat pumps in various rooms of the house ensure that people get the most comfortable climate for whatever they're doing.
Dennis has the advantage of real estate experience and lessons learned from decades of looking at other peoples' houses formed the genesis for this couple's own home.
The location is great - but the house is all about lifestyle, lifestyle, lifestyle.
WHERE: 14 Links Drive,
Waiwhakaiho, New Plymouth.
HOW BIG: 1180sqm in land;
370sqm in home.
HOW MUCH: Expressions of
WHAT YOU GET: Warm,
spacious and airy executive
home in a prime lifestyle
location at The Links. Top
quality construction, fittings and
appliances, great indoor/
outdoor flow and striking views.
MARKETED BY: Dennis Ingram
and Noel Probyn at TSB Realty
– 06 968 3800 or Dennis on
0274 222 201, Noel on 0274
ON THE WEB: open2view.com
– ref 265696; tsbrealty.co.nz –
SEE IT: By appointment only.
- Taranaki Daily News
Who are you most excited to see at Womad?