COASTAL RETREAT AT MOTUNUI
Niki reckons she has the best kitchen view in Taranaki … and it’s hard to argue.
The stunning vista from Niki and husband Warren’s property at 129 Turangi Rd Lower at Motunui takes in large swathes of the Taranaki coastline – views of Onaero, sweeping up past Urenui, Whitecliffs, on to Mokau and further afield, ‘‘even to Kawhia on crystal clear days’’, and also down the coast towards New Plymouth.
‘‘I learned to be a cook in this kitchen – with a view like this I was happy to spend time here,’’ Niki laughs.
Architecturally designed by Mike Johns, the four-bedroom, natural timber, board-and-batten split-level home was built in 1996 after the couple found their ‘‘piece of paradise’’ when returning from overseas.
‘‘I am a country girl at heart and always wanted to live in the country and bring a family up with the same opportunities of wide-open spaces to explore. We were looking for a piece of coastal land and these sections came up. We were one of the first to build and a little community has developed since then.’’
About halfway between Waitara and Urenui, and a straightforward drive into New Plymouth, Turangi Rd Lower flows down towards the coast and narrows to a quiet single-lane stretch, where a handful of houses have popped up over the years, taking advantage of the beautiful sea views.
‘‘We had a basic idea of what type of house we wanted and Mike did a fabulous job – we get the sunrise and sunset, views of the coast, and we can see the mountain from the upstairs rooms. It’s also got a real homely feel,’’ Niki says.
The structurally unique home boasts interesting angles, a soaring cathedral ceiling with exposed wooden beams, and a multitude of aluminium-framed windows, which make the most of the million-dollar views and the all-day sun. A deck wraps around the living and dining area on the lower level and is sheltered from the prevailing westerly wind by established trees and shrubs.
Stepping in off the deck, the warm kitchen and dining room areas, which face the sea and the front garden, flow into the main lounge, where a bay window is the perfect spot to read a book or watch boats and sea life, including the annual whale migration.
While the windows provide plenty of sun warmth, the house is otherwise heated by a wood burner with a wetback. The long chimney stretches up the wall of the lounge, providing plenty of warmth for the upstairs rooms.
Past the kitchen on the left is a bathroom, followed by the laundry, before you reach the good-size guest bedroom at the end of the passage. Off the laundry is an outside door to the driveway, and another to the two-car garage, which has another door leading out to the sheltered back section.
Taking the stairs, you reach a charming, curved mezzanine, which looks out over the lounge and has proved a talking point with visitors and a fun spot for kids to explore.
Off the mezzanine are three more bedrooms, including the master bedroom, which has an ensuite with a cute triangleshaped window – out one window you can check what the weather’s doing at sea, and out the other, what conditions are like on Mt Taranaki. The master bedroom and the second bedroom share a deck that, once again, provides beautiful views over the ocean.
‘‘It’s amazing,’’ says Niki of the master bedroom. ‘‘When you wake up and the sun’s coming up, you just feel awake and ready to get on with the day. Sunrises over the sea and hills to the east can be an absolutely sensational experience.’’
With two growing boys, in 2003 the couple asked Mike Johns to design an addition, so up a few more stairs is a large games room built by Kelvin Pearce. As well as another toilet, and two ceiling skylights, the room boasts a set of French doors opening out onto a balcony. This room could easily be converted into a new master bedroom or a studio.
‘‘The boys have had a great time up here with their mates, playing pool, enjoying videos and watching the stars through the skylights at night.’’
It is the boys, and their growing interest in outdoors, motorbikes and mountain bikes that has prompted Niki and Warren to buy a bigger piece of land, build again and put their loved home on the market.
‘‘Our kids are growing up and we need more room. It’s been a hard decision, but a lifestyle decision.’’
With the sea on its doorstep, Niki believes their home would suit ‘‘people with a sense of adventure and who want a country lifestyle without having to maintain land’’.
A sizeable backyard and a ‘front yard’ of the ocean for swimming, kayaking, fishing and surfing mean there are plenty of options for keeping children and adults entertained.
Michelle Gyde, of Urban Studio Properties, is marketing the property and says it has a ‘‘feel of natural, earthy and calm that will cast a net out to young families, those who yearn to be by the sea, creative souls searching for inspiration or those who simply want to sit back, relax and absorb the view’’.