Summer in Taranaki brings a focus on sea, sand and swimming, so it seems appropriate that our first property feature of the new year looks towards Oakura.
Not just the premier coastal community of the region, either - the seafront address of 36 Messenger Terrace offers ready access to the surf and sand as well as stunning panoramic views of the beach and coastline.
That's the heady mix that drew Ivan and Julie here 13 years ago to build what they expected to be their last home - a spacious contemporary residence with tropical landscaping and the extra warmth of stone and timber details inside.
Oakura-raised architect, Grant Boniface produced the concept design while the working plans were completed by a local draughtsman. The house was built was Dave Barber.
Our visit this week reveals the attraction of this setting. Their two-storey home sits on the elevated stretch of Messenger Terrace and gives them a special outlook of this resort coastline.
Many Oakura seafront properties capture just a slice of the sea, Julie notes. "Here, we have a panorama ... we've got the lot."
Julie can appreciate all that from the kitchen that's central to the upstairs living areas.
"Surfers, swimmers, high tide or low tide ... it's amazing really," she says.
It's easy to get to the Oakura sand - just across the road, there is a set of steps that take you straight down to the beach.
Shops and cafes are almost as convenient, according to Julie. A stroll up Pitcairn St, divert on to the walkway up to The Outlook and you find yourself in village central.
"It's only a few minutes away."
Only a major lifestyle change is drawing them away from this great home and setting ... they and their two sons and families are currently building a home in Ivan's family village in Croatia that he left in 1963 to come to New Zealand.
The setting there on the Adriatic coastline has similarities to Oakura, Julie suggests.
"Sometimes we come home here and look out over a glassy sea and we could be in Croatia."
You'd need to add an island or two to the view, of course - Croatia boasts more than 1000 islands off its long sea border. The comparison is a credit to Oakura, however - its central-southern Europe counterpart has become one of the popular tourist
destinations of the world.
That makes their decision to enjoy a lifestyle in Europe understandable. "Otherwise, we wouldn't be leaving here," they emphasise.
When they built the Messenger Terrace home, they planned in flexibility for the future.
A significant element of that flexibility is downstairs, where there is a self-contained flat with a large open-plan kitchen-living area, large double bedroom with ensuite, and separate access to its own covered courtyard area.
Their thoughts were to offer this to the bed-and-breakfast market, and for several years they did just that - very successfully. "We couldn't keep up," Julie recalls. "We had long-stayers and return stayers."
Eventually, as they were both working, the couple stopped the B&B service and instead rented the flat out. With its location over the road from the beach, that's been equally successful, with less effort involved. "It's been no trouble to rent it," Ivan
says. "We had that many people calling about it."
With a tenant keen on staying, that's a handy option for new owners, Ivan and Julie say. The B&B service would still be appealing for the right owners, or the self-contained nature of the accommodation means extended family could appreciate it.
There's plenty more that new owners will also enjoy in this home - another bedroom-and-ensuite combination is located downstairs as well as the separate laundry and internal-access double garage. Outside the laundry door, there's even an enclosed shower area to wash off the sand from a beach excursion before coming into the house.
Upstairs is the real focus of life here, however.
At the top of the stairs, you find the spacious master bedroom, with its walk-in wardrobe and ensuite, and French doors opening out on to the upper deck that wraps around the eastern and north faces of the home. There's a viewshaft down to the sea from here - one you can even appreciate from the bed, Ivan points out.
Across the landing area, there's the main bathroom and separate toilet - that's the fourth WC in this home, and the outside shower makes four showers as well. A smaller fourth bedroom adjacent is presently used by the couple as a sunny office.
Step through the doorway into the living areas and the views have an immediate impact. You can almost see the spray droplets flying as the surf tumbles on to the sand out in front. And along to the left the beach stretches away to the campground
and the curve of coastline around to Weld Rd.
As well as the cook's view from the well-appointed kitchen area, there's a sun-soaked corner window seat where you can sit and absorb the Oakura environment. That can be repeated out on the main deck area, where the couple have a comfortable wicker suite to make the most of summer days.
It's usually sheltered there from most breezes; but if a westerly breathes in, Ivan says, they move around the corner to the protection of the side deck. That's also where they can enjoy a coffee in the early morning sun.
The home basks in sun all day long, they say - with the first rays of the day sliding into the master bedroom, the warmth moving around the living areas through the day and then finishing in the side office/bedroom in the evening.
In summer, the sun sits higher and the house stays cool; in the winter, the lower sun slants in to warm life up. If the days are chilly and dark, things are kept cosy inside with the open gas heater set into the riverstone fireplace in the lounge area.
Those fireplace stones add a pleasing texture to the interior décor, complemented by the beamed tongue-and-groove timber ceilings. Walls are simple in white - a theme carried through the home.
The deck areas outside are tiled for easy maintenance, but the tiled look inside is just that - a look. Julie reveals that the floor was actually formed with concrete poured over prestressed concrete slabs and then coloured and scribed for the tiled appearance.
"It fools most people," she adds, with a smile.
That solid construction means there is no noise transmitted between the two levels of the house.
Julie says living in this home is very easy. "It's like apartment living, if you want it to be ... but with the benefits of a much bigger house if you want that."
Plenty of thought went into the detailing of the plan when building the house, she says. "There's heaps of storage everywhere ... everywhere I could create a cupboard, I did. There's not an ounce of wasted space in the house."
The wine 'cellar' is an example - a low space under the stairs that has been well-shelved with a wrought-iron door fitted for effect.
TSB Realty's Greg Hull and Clive Saleman are marketing the property for Ivan and Julie.
The Oakura beachfront lifestyle is part of the purchase here, Greg says, but the home also offers a particularly pleasing environment. "On my first visit here, I was struck by the special feeling in here ... you feel like you are home and relaxing as soon as you walk in."
The location at 36 Messenger Terrace is ideal, Greg says. "It's away from the bustle of the central beach area but close enough to enjoy everything when you want and it still feels quite private."
A lot of people have admired the property since Ivan and Julie built it, he adds. "It's a credit to them what they have created here."
WHERE: 36b Messenger Terrace, Oakura.
HOW BIG: 506sqm in land
HOW MUCH: Expressions of interest invited.
WHAT YOU GET: Beautiful contemporary seafront residence in Oakura with extra
family space or potential for a B&B income. Just a stroll across the road to the sand or
an easy walk up into the village for the relaxing cafe experience.
MARKETED BY: Greg Hull and Clive Saleman at TSB Realty - 06 968 3800 or
Greg on 0274761071, Clive on 027 290 6636.
ON THE WEB: www.open2view.com - ref 302646.
SEE IT: Viewing by appointment.
- © Fairfax NZ News
How much would you pay for a seat on the coastal walkway?