These five Mt Maunganui homes have such an individual style that they put this beachfront city on the stylish-homes map
1. A modern Mt Maunganui cottage
When Heather Coyne and Mark Winter bought a piece of land right in the middle of Marine Parade in 2008, they embraced the 1940s cottage that occupied the front of the section. The couple had plans to build on the back half and use the front dwelling both as an office space and accommodation for overflow visitors in peak holiday season.
The cottage and large pohutukawa tree on the site were well known to Mount locals and the decision to build a well-designed, modern dwelling at the back of the section was widely discussed: locals were relieved that the cottage would remain centre-stage.
The new house was designed to be open, simple, spacious and extremely private. In effect, it used the cottage to block its view. “I think the philosophy has always been that if the land is worth X amount, you have to maximise every cent of it because you pay so much for the land,” says Winter. “But we were sort of the other way around. Just because you pay a lot for a section, doesn’t mean you have to build a mansion on it.”
1. A Mt Maunganui apartment where vintage meets modern style
Building a brand-new apartment in Mt Maunganui was a bold step for this couple, but the result is a perfect combination of modern convenience and nostalgia.
Every day for months, Andy Kay would drive past the ‘for sale’ sign in front of a bunch of old flats on Mount Maunganui’s main drag and dream about what he and wife Jane could do with the site. It’s easy to understand the appeal – directly across the road from the beach, the property had ocean views, was just a short walk from the town centre and, as the site of the infamous Blue Dolphin Motel, represented a little slice of history.
A location that good needed to be shared, the Kays thought, so they purchased the block of dilapidated flats and drew up plans for four apartments, including one for themselves. After living in one of the flats for a year to get a feel for the site, the Kays demolished the structure and started to build the four stylish apartments, each with gorgeous beach views, envisioned by their architect, Tane Cox.
2. A unique Mt Maunganui home for a stylish family
When visitors arrive at the home of Stacey and Jake Pyne and their three children, they are presented not with a doorbell but a mini xylophone upon which to announce their arrival. This is the first hint that the household within thinks and acts a little differently to the norm, and this certainly includes their way with interior design.
“I love all sorts of different bits and pieces – I’m not sure exactly what my style is!” says Stacey. “I’m an avid collector and love to op-shop, though I’m trying not to do as much any more. I also enjoy Kmart. Jake loves fishing, so we have a lot of fishing-related stuff, too.” The result is an eclectic home, with almost the feel of a modern museum; one can’t help but be drawn to each intriguing piece, and charmed by the overall effect.
It was, in fact, Stacey’s bowerbird tendencies which led the family to this home three years ago – just when they’d finished a large renovation of their previous home and had absolutely no intention of moving. Sometimes, though, the path to the perfect home is not what we expect. In this case, the Pynes instantly fell in love with the new house, snapping it up and moving in within a matter of weeks.
3. Eclectic beach style inside a Mt Maunganui bungalow
Sea, sun and surf drew Sarah Ingram and Roger Murtagh to Mount Maunganui from Auckland. “Roger and I wanted a lifestyle change,” Sarah says. “He is a keen surfer and I love the beach lifestyle. I spent all my holidays at Mount Maunganui as a kid – my grandparents owned a motel across the road from the beach – so I have lots of fond memories of the Mount. Living here now feels like I’m permanently on holiday!”
In order to follow their dream, the couple sold their unit in Auckland’s Herne Bay in August 2013 and moved, with all their belongings, to their Port Waikato bach for a year. This gave them some breathing space to search for a house to buy, and it wasn’t long before they found this 1965 bungalow with three bedrooms.
Sarah had some ideas in mind for the home’s new interior, but needed a steer in the right direction. A long-time fan of interiors blog Cush and Nooks (run by Napier interior-design team Bibby + Brady), she decided to contact them for some help. “I’ve always been a loyal Cush and Nooks follower so I knew we had a similar design aesthetic,” says Sarah. “I needed some help pulling my ideas together and loved the way Bibby + Brady combine colour, pattern and texture.”
5. A Mt Maunganui bachelorette pad with loads of charm
Julie Duncan, pharmacy owner-turned-florist, bought an old-fashioned bike immediately after acquiring her tiny house on a back section two streets from Mt Maunganui’s coastal playground. The cottage was supposed to be an occasional bolthole, a practical stopping-off point closer to youngest son Liam’s boarding school in Cambridge and an escape from multiple business and social commitments in Opotiki. But Julie became smitten with the lifestyle, discovering cafes and shops, movie theatres and a glorious beach within walking or cycling distance. Following an amicable marriage break-up, the holiday home became her permanent abode and the bike her favourite transport mode.
Initially, living on a smaller scale proved both puzzling and liberating. Where was she supposed to keep her books and magazines? Or her clothes? How could she entertain in a one-metre by one-and-a-half-metre living space?
So she stacked books on the floor and gave away surplus clothing, along with all her magazines and extra stored items. She invited groups of friends to meet in local restaurants or cafes. And she opened a shop selling cut flowers and antiques and filled it with crystal and other treasures she couldn’t keep at home.