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Grand and gracious

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A beachfront site studded with pohutukawa trees provides the setting for this Mediterranean-style home by Don Nelson & Associates

Grand and gracious

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Simple forms teamed with asymmetrically placed windows, doors and arcades are just some of the characteristics of Mediterranean-style houses. Usually comprising spacious living areas that spill onto wide loggias, this architectural style is well-suited to New Zealand's mild climate and relaxed, family-oriented lifestyle.

With its free-flowing curves, this home by Don Nelson & Associates has a distinctive Mediterranean feel but with a New Zealand twist – thanks to native pohutukawa trees and panoramic views of the Hauraki Gulf. Lighting, water features and extensive landscaping has been used to accentuate the home's bold architectural style, both by night and day.

In the evening, for example, guests enter the home via large automatic gates. Upon opening, the gates activate a gas flare on top of a large column supporting the porte cochere. These fiery flames provide a visual focal point and a dramatic welcome.

A two-storey-high wall of stacked schist clads one of the walls that flanks the main entrance – its natural texture providing relief to the home's solid, substantial looking façade. Water trickles down the face of this wall into a shallow pond, the light above it bouncing off the stone to create a glistening sheen.

Large timber doors open to reveal a double-height entry foyer that's flooded with natural light, thanks to a circular skylight. Marble tiles on the floor, wave-shaped walls painted a warm neutral colour and an elaborate chandelier complement the generous proportions of the foyer.

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A grand, curved staircase with wrought-iron balustrades provides access to four bedrooms, each with their own ensuites. This upper floor includes the master bedroom and adjoining office which open onto a large tiled balcony that overlooks the swimming pool and beach. An elevator provides the owners with secondary access upstairs.

To make the most of the home's natural environment, the kitchen and family room feature curved glass windows that provide views from all angles.

The main living areas flow onto patios and the swimming pool via bifold doors. Wide eaves, along with the statuesque pohutukawa trees, provide plenty of shade and keep the house cool during summer months.

For further information, contact Don Nelson & Associates, phone (09) 486 4698, fax (09) 489 6447, mobile 027 496 7450. Email: dn.arch.1@xtra.co.nz. Website:www.donnelsonarchitecture.co.nz .

First published date: 24 August 2003

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