When expats Stuart and Rochelle Wilson were living in Hong Kong for 15 years, they dreamed of returning to New Zealand to build their dream home as “a place where people came to just exhale”.
The couple approached architects Sumich Chaplin to design a high-quality family home with integrated, but separate guest accommodation.
They also wanted to make the most of their clifftop location above Castor Bay in Auckland, requesting great indoor-outdoor flow to the infinity swimming pool, spa pool and all the integrated living areas.
Having windows and sliding doors opening to the outdoor living areas was also fundamental to the design of the house. They utilised both Vantage’s APL Architectural Series and Metro Series sliding doors to fully appreciate the views across the Hauraki Gulf and the external living. “Stu is a big believer in maximising the view from everywhere in the house. There’s very limited space to put artwork. We’ve been struggling to find a space for our family photos,” says Rochelle.
For much of the three-years-and-nine-months build by Glover Homes, the family was living in Hong Kong. This proved a challenge as Rochelle confesses to not having a hugely creative imagination when it came to visualising their stone, cedar, and plasterboard-clad home. “I got a bit freaked out about not being able to see and feel some of the elemental product choices, so we took advantage of living in Hong Kong and travelled to China to choose some of our stone and tiles from the quarries there,” says Rochelle.
These days the family are revelling in the slower pace of life. The children, all born in Hong Kong, have embraced the great outdoors. They have a trampoline, a putting green, the pool and spa, a pool house and there’s easy access to the beach and reserve. There are also kayaks, paddleboards and bikes at their disposal. “It’s an amazingly different way of life to literally have it all on your doorstep,” says Rochelle.
The couple have given up on corporate life for now, having bought MetWood in New Zealand (the wood-grain aluminium gates, louvres and fence on the property are made from it) and are forging ahead with the luxury accommodation enterprise. “As an investment banking lawyer my job wasn’t focused on people’s happiness,” says Rochelle.
Now, having retrained as a yoga instructor, the accommodation (called Elements of Castor Bay) will be a place where people can come to unwind and exhale. It is now her intention to make as many people as happy as she can here through sharing their breathtaking property.
The venue can also be used for intimate weddings, small celebrations, and family holidays. They’re also looking forward to welcoming couples wanting to get away for the weekend. “I’ve always said I want them to come in and just exhale and feel like they can drop everything at the door. We’ll do whatever we can for them to enjoy their time here,” says Rochelle.
Right now, though, the Wilson family is just happy enjoying their favourite room – the outdoor sunken lounge with overhead glazing by Vantage that was painstakingly created so deck furniture wouldn’t interfere with the views from other parts of the home.