Di­a­mond in par­adise

Herald on Sunday - - HERALD ON SUNDAY HOMES - By Donna McIn­tyre


Joanne and Mur­ray Cliffe de­scribe Mahurangi West as a mini Bay of Is­lands. “There are many amazing bays and in­lets to ex­plore, swim and fish yet we are less than 30 min­utes from North Shore,” says Mur­ray.

The cou­ple bought the stun­ning three-level cedar and schist home about three years ago, at­tracted by the hill­side home’s mod­ern yet func­tional de­sign and the mag­nif­i­cent views it of­fers over Mahurangi Har­bour.

Mur­ray says the for­mer owner was a construction en­gi­neer who worked with de­sign­ers, ar­chi­tects and “top qual­ity builders” on the 2008 de­sign and build, earn­ing a mas­ter builders award.

“Be­ing a construction ex­pert, all as­pects of the build­ing process were ex­ceeded sig­nif­i­cantly.”

He says the north-fac­ing home is po­si­tioned ex­tremely well on-site. “It blends beau­ti­fully with the land­scape.”

Be­cause of its peace­ful, pri­vate set­ting, they liken liv­ing here to stay­ing in a luxury hol­i­day home.

“Ex­ten­sive plan­ning went into the land­scap­ing, fo­cus­ing on na­tive species that com­ple­ment the house. The prop­erty is low-main­te­nance, largely cov­ered by bush and has a pri­vate walk­ing track,” says Mur­ray.

They are only min­utes from the beach and ramp at Jamieson Bay, a great spot for swim­ming, kayak­ing, paddle board­ing, boat­ing and pic­nics.

“We see 180-de­gree views of the Mahurangi Har­bour in­clud­ing the Puka­puka in­let, the main Wark­worth chan­nel and Scotts Land­ing. We also see whales, dol­phins and seals.” The boats — in­clud­ing their own — moored di­rectly in front add to the di­verse panorama, says Mur­ray.

If they feel like ven­tur­ing fur­ther from home, they take their 24ft bowrider out to ex­plore the bays.

“We also love lunch­ing at Matakana and Puhoi, and walk­ing to the amazing beaches es­pe­cially Opahi Bay and Sul­li­vans Bay.”

The self-em­ployed cou­ple en­joy en­ter­tain­ing friends, fam­ily and neigh­bours in their leisure time.

The prox­im­ity of the gourmet kitchen — with its sixburner gas hob, twin stainless ovens, twin dish­wash­ers and gran­ite bench­tops — to the open-plan en­ter­tain­ment ar­eas en­ables easy flow.

“This home is an en­ter­tainer’s dream,” says Mur­ray, work­ing equally well for small gath­er­ings or larger cel­e­bra­tions of up to 50 peo­ple watch­ing the an­nual An­niver­sary Day Mahurangi Re­gatta in the bay.

Keen pho­tog­ra­phers, the cou­ple has en­joyed doc­u­ment­ing the colours of sun­sets.

“We have cap­tured many moods of this won­der­ful bay. The colours of the bay change through­out the day.”

The lay­out of their home has the en­try level on the mid­dle floor that has a small gym, laun­dry and the dou­ble garage with in­ter­nal ac­cess to the large open­plan space with mul­ti­ple func­tional ar­eas and the de­signer kitchen, open­ing to gen­er­ous wrap­around decks shaded by re­tractable awnings.

The cou­ple say these mul­ti­func­tional ar­eas are their favourite parts of the home with three de­fined ar­eas — TV nook with fire­place, din­ing ta­ble and view­ing nook.

“We love to share a glass of wine and chat in the view­ing nook.”

The orig­i­nal own­ers ded­i­cated the top floor to the mas­ter suite in­clud­ing a large en suite and walk-in-wardrobe. How­ever, Jo and Mur­ray have used one of the bed­rooms on the ground floor for their mas­ter suite. This level has two bed­rooms, an of­fice, sep­a­rate toi­let and bath­room, with ac­cess to a wrap­around deck­ing.

“We wake daily to these same views from all sides and the beau­ti­ful sounds of the birdlife. Sip­ping cof­fee on ei­ther of our decks is en­hanced by the sound of wa­ter lap­ping close by,” says Mur­ray.

With such won­der­ful views on ev­ery level, the home’s neu­tral in­te­rior decor never dis­tracts from the scenery out­side. Walls and ceil­ings are soft neu­trals and floor­ing is mocha-coloured wool car­pet, honey-coloured com­pressed bam­boo and tiles.

And while Jo and Mur­ray felt there was no need to make any changes to the struc­ture of their home, they have re-stained the ex­te­rior with the lat­est high-qual­ity prod­uct for coastal prop­er­ties. This was done in a charcoal shade to com­ple­ment the sil­ver join­ery, schist and the colours of the na­tive bush.

They think of their home as a “di­a­mond in par­adise”. But now the en­joy­ment of this gem will be passed on to the next own­ers.

“We are mov­ing away to fo­cus on man­ag­ing our busi­ness in the South Is­land,” says Mur­ray.

“Any­one that steps into the main floor of our home will be stunned by the ex­ten­sive views and the way the room opens to 180 de­grees. We have trav­elled ex­ten­sively and we be­lieve these views are among the best in the world while close to Auck­land.”


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