Five years ago Karen and Mike Robertson were living in Central London, happily unaware a new home was waiting for them in New Zealand.
With two young boys and busy careers, they were considering what next… “Our lives were lovely; yet we weren’t quite sure of our next step. We were fortunate at that time to do some structured reflection; so we decided it was time to have an adventure,” Karen reflects. “We took a clean sheet of paper and wrote a set of ideals for our lifestyle and began to think about places which might measure up. “It rapidly became clear that we would most likely give up our jobs and leave England to meet those ideals.”New Zealand came up as a possible match and they holidayed here in Christ-mas 2002 mainly in Auckland and Northland. During the second week, on im-pulse, they hopped on a ferry bound for Waiheke, grabbed a bus for Palm Beach where they were enchanted by the baches dotting the hillsides above the beach.
‘Maybe we could live somewhere like this,’ they mused. But in any case they decided to spend the last weekend of their trip back on Waiheke Island. Outside an Oneroa real estate agent’s office, a huge billboard advertising a 2.6ha coastal block caught their attention. “We arranged to view it, even though we had no idea what P.O.A. meant,” laughs Karen. “Once here we were captivated. We wandered around the property eventually winding down to the beach below and sat on the grassy beach reserve watching the boys wading on a sandbar just off shore.
“It didn’t take us long to realise that this was the kind of place we were search-ing for- a place that that would make you change your life completely and move half way around the world for.”They put in an offer then and there. The rest of the afternoon was spent in a local wine-bar with faxes clattering back and forth until an agreement was reached.“We were quite stunned at the speed at which things happened. In England that kind of transaction would have taken 3-6 months.”Once back in the UK they began making plans for their new home and ap-pointed Devonport architect Geoff Richards. The result- a stunning, light-filled home which has appeared twice in NZ Houses, was completed in 2006.
“Back then the garden was bare with mounds of building debris but some pockets of mature plantings, ” Karen recalls.
In summer poolside barbecues are easy with instant access to outdoor dining ware and dishwashers in the pool/laundry room, and food is set on an adjacent steel and concrete dining table. An outdoor fireplace at the rear of the house is also well-used. The area has just been revamped with transparent Dampalon and coloured insets which echo the materials used in the construction of the house. At night backlighting results in a stunning approach to the huge sliding entrance. The house comprises a series of glass panels that open up to flow seamlessly to the outdoors. Inside the easy-care polished concrete floors abet this flow. It’s clear this is a home to be enjoyed. If you have enjoyed this taste of the Roberston property, you can see it first hand during the Sealink 2009 Jassy Dean Trust Garden Safari on Saturday November 7 and Sunday November 8, 2009 10.00am – 4.30pm; when it will be one of the gardens open to the public.
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Words Peta Stavelli Photographs CPL
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