Designer lifestyle, rural peace

MIKE SHAW
Last updated 05:53 08/03/2014

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There's a rustic indicator of the rural setting of this Henwood Rd property in the quirky sign halfway along its shady tree-lined drive.

'Motorists: Please give way to cows on bridge' is the old sign's caution ... and you have to smile at the humour in the placement as there's no evidence of either cows or bridge. The sign's definitely rustic; the home at the end of this driveway is anything but.

The first indication of that is the intercom facility at the security gates to gain entrance into the property. Press the button and announce your arrival and owner John's voice invites you to drive through the now-moving gates.

It's a sophisticated welcome that is a bit of a heads-up for the striking home that greets you as you drive in and around the plantings that frame the gates. The sharp contemporary design mixes monopitch roof lines, stacked concrete block walls, both

Linea boards and smooth cladding, and black joinery to accent the soft grey concrete and paint finishes. There's a bold contrasting touch in the vivid red garage and entry

doors.

The designer approach in the Chris Bell-built home is complemented by similarly professional landscaping - low-maintenance greenery in riverstone-filled gardens around the entrance, with lawns further around bordered and accented with more carefully planned plantings.

There's a real sense of style here, but it's not just presentation; you quickly find out that this is also a very relaxing and comfortable home for its owners. Presentation does get that vivid-red emphasis at the formal entrance. The double doors framed in tinted glass make a high-gloss statement as John welcomes you into the wide airy tiled foyer.

There are many more statements to be appreciated inside.

To the right is a spacious formal lounge that also becomes a home theatre when the large screen unrolls from its ceiling recess - a great way to enjoy a sports event with friends, John assures. Sound is handled discretely by in-wall speakers and all the other necessary audio and video equipment is hidden away in a hallway cupboard and remotely controlled.

To the left of the foyer are the main living areas, with kitchen set to the back, an enclosed indoor-outdoor room in front of it, and the open-plan dining and family area further on.

That 'indoor-outdoor' room is a great interface between the home and its grounds.

The glass wall that separates it from the kitchen actually comprises floor-to-ceiling

stacker doors that slide wide with an easy push.

The rest of this special room opens up as well - in the two outside walls are two more

sets of stacker doors with a fourth set opening back into the adjacent family room.

And then there's the roof that opens as well. It's an electrically operated louvre roof

that you have closed when you want shade and shelter from the elements, and tilt the

louvres open to let in sun and warmth when you want that. It's an incredibly flexible

designer conservatory that effectively transforms into a courtyard.

"You can open the house up to give it a sense of freedom to the outside areas," John

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says.

From here, you also look across the driveway to where a half-acre of this nearly two-
acre property drops down into the valley. It's a useful area where owners could have a

pony grazing, John suggests.

With all the doors open, the kitchen enjoys this view out to the rural surroundings of

the property. There's so much built into the kitchen, however, that you might not look

beyond it.

It's a Glen Johns design in the black-and-white theme that runs through this house.

Black cabinets have a high-tech polished look, thanks to the black glass that faces

each door and the front of the island bench. Twin 750mm ovens, set waist-high in the

rear wall of cabinets, provide plenty of mealtime capacity for larger gatherings.

The pair of tall cupboard doors alongside is a clever and convenient 'pocket' style that

open up and then slide back out of the way into the wall. They reveal a lighted space

with wine glasses above and a wine fridge below.

The white Corian bench in front carries the glass cooktop at one end and the moulded-
in sink at the other. A multi-jointed, multi-functional tap is an unusual but very

effective feature at the sink. Underneath is a 900mm-wide dishwasher drawer.

Much of the fuss of meal preparations can be done out of sight in the butler's pantry

to the side of the kitchen. It offers plenty of extra bench space, shelf and cupboard

storage, another dishwasher deep enough to take large pans and a refrigerated drawer

that can offer cooler or freezer temperatures.

"It's an extremely good entertaining home from the hostess' point of view," John

says. The central focus of the kitchen means a cook can keep in contact with guests in

all the living areas.

Informal dining can move to the side patio where a barbecue and outdoor dining table

is located. And if you want to spread activities wider still, you note another suite of

outdoor seats on the other side of the lawn.

John says this home has accommodated a gathering of around 100 people. "And you

wouldn't have known it ... spread through the living areas and outside."

Barbecues and outdoor living usually take a lower profile as winter comes along and

this home offers plenty of appealing options to focus inward.

The family area enjoys the warmth and atmosphere of a stainless-steel-framed gas

insert fire in the wall below a recessed television. The fireplace is a double-sided

model that also warms that indoor-outdoor room on the other side of the wall.

Behind the kitchen, a hallway that runs through the length of the house also has a dual

purpose - evidenced by the tall bookcases and a couple of comfortable armchairs.

"This is a library nook ... it's a nice place to sit and read, summer or winter," John

says.

There's no need to worry about direct heating in cooler months. Underfloor heating

is installed throughout the home, set up in two zones for efficient and effective

operation.

Long windows above the bookcases let natural light flood through here, as do floor-
to-ceiling sheets of glass that form each end of the hallway.

Down that end of the hallway, you find three family or guest bedrooms, the family

bathroom, a separate laundry, and the spacious double garage. That laundry is

beautifully set up with custom cabinetry offering masses of storage and a stainless

steel tube suspended from the ceiling to hang occasional washing.

The garage even has a separate space at the rear that has been planned as sunny

designer quarters for a pet, but could also be a useful hobby area for new owners.

Looking outside through the back bedroom windows, John points out the shelter

belts protecting the property, and the easy-case grounds out here, that are layered

with stones to prevent weeds. Raised timber planters can be planted with herbs and

vegetables. An orchard is another productive area at the garage end of the home.

The master bedroom suite at the opposite end is a special retreat within the home,

with plenty of room in the bedroom area for extra seating, a large walk-in wardrobe,

and a luxurious ensuite that includes an air bath and a bidet as well as a toilet. The

air bath sits beneath a window so the garden view can be enjoyed as well as the long

relaxing soak.

Privacy and peace is a highlight of life here, John says. And the tranquillity of the

rural setting is not compromised by distance, either. He notes that shopping at The

Valley is just seven minutes' away. "I only need to go into town for meals and

movies; all the rest is available at The Valley."

Urban Studio Properties consultant Jenny Brooking is marketing the property for John

and says properties of this quality are rare on the market. "It's not your standard build

... all the extras make this a stunning home with an amazing private lifestyle."

There's enough land, Jenny says, to enjoy a hobby activity outside. "And it's not too

much of a constraint that you can't lock up and go away."

QUICK LOOK

WHERE: 334a Henwood Rd, New Plymouth.

HOW BIG: Approx 6800sqm in land; about 340sqm in home.

HOW MUCH: Expressions of interest invited over $1 million.

WHAT YOU GET: Designer lifestyle in a private secure rural setting just minutes

from city shopping and conveniences. Beautifully detailed family or executive home

is also a very comfortable environment for its owners, enhanced with top-quality

fittings and technology.

MARKETED BY: Jenny Brooking at Urban Studio Properties - 06 759 0028 or 0274

444 901.

ON THE WEB: open2view.com - ref 297703.

SEE IT: By appointment only.

- Taranaki Daily News

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