This rural New Plymouth property places the focus on guests and gathering

With 360-degree views from mountain to sea, it’s a farm house that makes room for everyone.   

At 5’2”, Natasha Hintz is one petite powerhouse. The average week sees this marathon-running superwoman wrangling five farms, a hair salon, home projects, a busy household and several kids — and not just her own, either. 

TOP Outside, Colorsteel in Ebony, plaster in Resene Cloud and cedar timber meet windows and joinery by Altherm Window Systems. Six outdoor areas surrounding the home’s five pavilions expand the living spaces even further. One of Micah’s friends, Sean Parker from Michael Mansvelt Design, did the landscaping, including new lawns and a hardy mix of natives and tropicals. ABOVE Polished concrete flooring inside the main pavilion leads onto concrete pavers and kwila decking outside. Gathered around the table from Clegg’s are (from left) Keeva and her friend Mia Malloy, Brenden, godson Neko McDonald and Natasha.

Natasha and her farmer husband Brenden have been taking in children in need since they themselves were young. “Our home is like hire-a-family,” she says. “We have our own adult kids and lots of extras we inherit — and we built this house for exactly that. People might stay for a night or six months — it just depends what’s required. And we’ve usually got lots happening, so we can give people jobs. We’re always saying, ‘If you’re short of work, come and help us on the farm’, which gets people doing something purposeful. They’re all so much fun that we feel so lucky and wouldn’t have it any other way.” 

ABOVE Cocooned by walls in Resene Nocturnal and Resene Foggy Grey, the décor blends old and new, including several pieces sourced, custom-designed and reupholstered by interior designer Carol Thompson of Bijou Eliot, such as this sofa in fabric by Designers Guild. Brenden made the rustic side table using timber off the farm, the Copenhagen armchair is from Freedom, the rug was made using Galet carpet by Cavalier Bremworth, the Notre Monde tray tables are by McKenzie & Willis and the floor lamp is from Lighting Direct. Altherm Window Systems’ low-E glass windows filled with argon gas ensure the home is cool in summer and warm in winter, so the fireplace and central heating get only occasional use, while retractable fly screens by Exceed are both practical for this rural home and act as sheer sun screens. “I can’t rave about them enough,” says Natasha.

Six years in the planning (during which the couple and kids all had a ball putting their two cents in — “although I had 96 cents worth,” says Natasha), this bustling base is the Hintzs’ second build, and they’ve a string of renovations under their belts as well. They designed this one in collaboration with Stephen McDonald of Rosetta Stone Arkitektur, Jason Reid Builders and other local folk — a dream team of friends and friends of friends who’ve created a home that’s both social and a sanctuary.

ABOVE There can never be too many cooks in this kitchen, in which custom blue steel cabinetry combines with matte black cabinets and Dekton surfaces in Domoos from Cosentino. Designed to look like concrete, the rendered wall by Impact Feature Walls also appears in the drinks nook, fireplace surround, hallway, master bedroom and laundry, and continues through to the steel pivot front door. Overhead are skylights beautified by builder Jason’s timber finishing touch and lights that shine upwards for maximum effect, installed by electrician Hamish Scott of Scott Electrical Solutions.

Positioned to maximise the 74-acre property’s views, its aspect is its calling card. A little cottage surrounded by pine trees once stood in this spot, but the couple was confident there would be amazing vistas behind them, “so we took the whole lot down — and there were,” says Natasha. “Three hundred and sixty-degree views that include the mountain and the sea.”

ABOVE Natasha says the home’s expansive windows — including this one with its view of Mt Taranaki — come into their own rain, hail and shine. “All the tornadoes come up this valley, from the city right the way through to the mountain. We’ve had four tornadoes in a year, which is crazy but spectacular.”

With windows at each end to draw this scenery inside, the dwelling is made up of three gable-roofed pavilions (containing the main living spaces; the master suite; and the laundry, kids’ bedrooms and bathroom) connected by two smaller flat-roofed ones (housing a media room, study and powder room). The garage is attached, while Natasha’s salon, Solo, sits separate. 

TOP Beside the taxidermied pheasant — a nod to Brenden’s breeding of the birds; it died of natural causes — the exposed rangehood with a circular flue is another key feature in the G-shaped kitchen. The couple spotted something similar while on holiday in France and replicated the look with the help of Rivet, who did all the steelwork in the house, and Rowson Kitchens. ABOVE With a 1960s chandelier from Vintage Industries suspended from its 5m ceiling, the kitchen offers multiple zones, including a drinks nook for coffee and other beverages, equipped with a G4 HydroTap by Zenith. Facing the dining table, the servery allows the chefs to interact with their guests.

Lots of space in which to accommodate whānau was clearly important, as was a gigantic kitchen. “We’re a loud, boisterous family of foodies who entertain a lot — and I usually cook enough for 20, no matter how many people are here!” says Natasha, who briefed Annika and Brad Rowson of Rowson Kitchens on a generous open-plan design crafted from hard-working materials. The result is an award-winning industrial-style space dominated by a towering picture window, tall open shelving and wonderful waxed steel that’s developing a beautiful patina.

TOP Natasha and Brenden’s ensuite has a lovely zen-like look. She wanted lots of light in this space, so Stephen suggested a skylight that Jason lined with timber. The mataī bath rack (over the bath from WaterWare) was crafted by two of Natasha’s friends. “They sanded, polished and oiled it, then gave it to me for looking after their boys,” she says. ABOVE The master bedroom is the couple’s haven when they need some peace and quiet. “We don’t even hear if the kids are yahooing,” says Natasha. Here, a dried floral installation by Sophie Park, owner of floral boutique Petal & Prickle and a friend of Micah’s, is joined by a trio of Heavy Metal pendant lights by Buster & Punch and bedding from Bianca Lorenne.

In keeping with the vibe of its inhabitants, the rest of the home’s material palette is similarly natural and robust, predominately wood, concrete and steel. “We’re not a ‘shoes off’ family, we’re a ‘shoes on, dance on the table’ family,” says Natasha. “We don’t like things that are too flash — we want durable materials that’ll handle a lot of fun, a lot of children and a lot of dogs [the family has three].” 

ABOVE Sourced by Annika, the rose gold tapware throughout the house is by Italian brand IB Rubinetti. With basins from WaterWare, these vanities in the ensuite feature Dekton by Cosentino benchtops and matte black cabinetry, and the Crossroads Chalk Coal tiles are from The Tile Depot.

During past decorating endeavours, she’s tended to choose ‘safe’ neutrals; this time, she turned the dial to moody black and grey, with timber and tan accents. “We’ve had people come in and say it’s too dark, but for us, it’s perfect,” she says. “When you’ve got so much sun and sea coming in, it needs something to bring down the brightness.

ABOVE Natasha was inspired by Carol Thompson of Bijou Eliot to choose textural linen fabrics for the bedroom curtains — pictured here in Kiev’s room is Sassi by Textilia. The Hakka Grass wallpaper is by Thibaut, the pillowslips are by Penney & Bennett, the pink quilt and white cushion are from Bianca Lorenne, the rust throw is by The Virtue and the chocolate cushion is made from Eternal fabric by Mokum from Bijou Eliot, left over from the curtains in Micah’s room.

“Everyone tried to talk me out of having so much glass, too, because it’s a lot of work. But my response was simple: ‘I’d rather suck it up and clean them because I want those views.’ I’m a clean freak — I have four vacuums and a vacuum system, for goodness sake! — and do everything myself, except the very top windows.

TOP This outdoor shower connects to the laundry, another element of the home Natasha was determined to
get right. Her brief for a utility room “that works for a farm, adult children, excessive amounts of washing and dogs that rule the house, yet always looks clean” has been met in a simple but savvy space with two long cabinets housing big drawers for different sets of washing, from “really dirty” to “okay for town”. The shower (with shower head by Zip) allows grubs to rinse off before they walk in the door, and concrete floors are the final piece of the clever practical puzzle. ABOVE The couple sourced their self-cleaning pool through Custom Construction.

I used to run a lodge in Stratford, and to stay on top of things, I’d try to do 10 windows a day — that was my thing. So I do the same here; it only takes about 15 minutes when you get into it.” High-energy determination dawn till dusk, Natasha says both she and Brenden are “just a bit hyperactive”, something they now love to balance with downtime in the peaceful privacy of their new master suite. A serial-project kind of person, she’s already onto her next — revamping a rental property. But for all her desire to keep creating, she says you’ll find the Hintzs here for a good long while, where the door is always open and the sign on the mat says ‘welcome’.

Words Philippa Prentice
Photography Simon Wilson

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