COVER PROP­ERTY

Taranaki Daily News - Your Property Weekly - - Front Page - Ross Nolly

Keen gar­den­ers know that you can’t buy time. That’s some­thing that trees and gar­dens need to be­come es­tab­lished and meld into each other.

Two-years ago, Will Neill and Sarah Sil­ve­ria moved to Taranaki from Palmer­ston North. They were seek­ing to live some­where qui­eter, but still wanted to be close to town. They found that prop­erty at 33 Bar­clay Rd at Oka­iawa; a small vil­lage 13 kilo­me­tres west of Haw­era, and just 7.5kms from Mat­apu Pri­mary School. The 1.2141-hectare prop­erty’s draw­card was a stun­ning gar­den sur­round­ing a three-bed­room villa.

‘‘We loved it as soon as we saw it,’’ Sarah says. ‘‘We ex­pe­ri­ence a coun­try life­style, but are close to the coast and town, too. Oa­iawa is a tight-knit com­mu­nity where ev­ery­one looks out for each other. When we first moved in, one of our neigh­bours ar­rived with his trac­tor to see if we needed any help.’’

Will and Sarah love liv­ing close to the coast, and down here it has a rep­u­ta­tion for great sea fish­ing; es­pe­cially rock fish­ing and beach sur­f­cast­ing. Ohawe Beach is a great spot for both fish­ing and swim­ming; and it’s only a seven-minute drive away.

It’s not dif­fi­cult to see why Will and Sarah fell in love with the gar­dens. You know you’ve got a pretty sharp-look­ing gar­den when vis­i­tors say ‘‘Your gar­den is like a park’’.

The gar­den pro­vides a suc­ces­sion of year­long colour. The es­tab­lished trees, peren­ni­als and rose gar­den im­part an English gar­den­like charm. Even in the dead of win­ter, there is al­ways some colour to brighten up the day.

‘‘The rose gar­den is my favourite; even though I don’t know the names of half of them,’’ says Sarah. ‘‘We of­ten drag the big out­door ta­ble to the rose gar­den to sit amongst the roses and ad­mire the beau­ti­ful moun­tain view. When the cherry trees are in blossom it al­most looks like it’s snow­ing.’’

The in­for­mal­ity of the roses is a con­trast to the neatly trimmed box hedges and man­i­cured lawns.

A large paulow­nia tree puts on a vi­brant pur­ple dis­play dur­ing spring, and per­forms dou­ble duty by shad­ing the kid’s tree hut, tyre-swings and sand­pit. Sarah loves her lit­tle wild­flower gar­den that erupts with vivid blue corn­flow­ers and tall cos­mos sway­ing back and forth in the sum­mer breeze.

‘‘We also have cit­rus and ap­ple trees,’’ she points out. ‘‘Our large raised vege gar­dens can tend to run amok, be­cause we never seem to be able to keep up with the pro­duce.’’

Will and Sarah have mod­ernised their villa in a style that is sym­pa­thetic to its vin­tage.

‘‘The in­te­rior was a bit dated; but didn’t need mas­sive ren­o­va­tion. We’ve kept the orig­i­nal ceil­ings and wooden fea­tures to re­tain the char­ac­ter. When we needed to change things we added in more na­tive tim­ber.’’

The kitchen has been ren­o­vated in a mod­ern coun­try farm style and fea­tures a large gas stove, am­ple bench space and a break­fast bar. The lounge-din­ing room slid­ing doors open out onto a shel­tered porch over­look­ing the lawn and gar­den. The high ceil­ings im­part an open airy feel, en­hanced by the light that washes in through the large wooden sash win­dows.

The orig­i­nal dec­o­ra­tive plas­ter and wooden ceil­ings have been re­tained, along with the wide wooden skirt­ing boards. Each wooden door fea­tures the orig­i­nal brass door han­dles and dec­o­ra­tive brass, tulip-pat­terned plaques.

The pol­ished wooden floors that were once hid­den be­neath a dated turquoise car­pet are now a high­light of the com­pleted ren­o­va­tion.

The main lounge fea­tures one of the dec­o­ra­tive wooden ceil­ings and a brick wood­fire sur­round. The room opens onto a wrap­around deck and the lawn and rose gar­den.

All bed­rooms haves built-in wardrobes and a gar­den view. The mas­ter bed­room fea­tures a bay win­dow that per­fectly frames the gar­den and Mount Taranaki.

‘‘We have two wood stoves, an HRV, and a large heat pump,’’ Sarah notes. ‘‘I work as vet. Dur­ing a busy spring, it’s es­pe­cially handy to be able to turn on the heat pump when you ar­rive home; be­cause you don’t al­ways feel like build­ing a fire.’’

The shel­tered prop­erty has stock­yards, a vet race and 12 well-fenced pad­docks. Three of the pad­docks are able to be har­vested for hay and silage.

A life­style prop­erty can never have too much stor­age; and Will and Sarah’s prop­erty doesn’t dis­ap­point. The dis­used Oka­iawa Bowl­ing Club rooms pro­vide am­ble wa­ter­tight stor­age and a work­ing kitchen. They have also built-in a pig­gery, calf pens and a chicken coop. The ‘‘stor­age’’ pie`ce de re´sis­tance must be the 135sqm garage. It ac­com­mo­dates four parked cars, and in­cor­po­rates an of­fice-sleep­out, a lock­able stor­age area and a large work­bench.

‘‘Will’s fam­ily live in Taupo,’’ Sarah says in ex­plain­ing their de­ci­sion to sell this prop­erty. ‘‘I was of­fered a po­si­tion there, so we de­cided to move closer to his fam­ily. We wish we were able to pick up this en­tire prop­erty and take it with us.

‘‘Our large three-bed­room home has villa char­ac­ter with mod­ern liv­ing. Here, you can have a life­style with an­i­mals; but the prop­erty isn’t so big that it be­comes over­whelm­ing. It would make an ideal home for a fam­ily with young chil­dren. When we bought the prop­erty that’s what we saw it as; a great place to raise a fam­ily.’’

PHO­TOS: MARK BELL­RINGER AT OPEN2VIEW

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