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NZ Lock in a family retreat

Property Here - Saturday, May 18, 2013

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Family and community are important to former All Black Ian Jones and those values drove the decision to buy this Milford home six years ago. He and wife Janine were looking for a family-friendly property where they could raise their children, Flynn, now aged 13, Mia, 12, and Noah, 10.

"With the kids, we wanted space and we wanted to be on the seaward side of Milford," says Ian. "The people we bought it off had a family so it was well set up and the flat, fully fenced section was ideal for the kids. They have learned how to ride their bikes here, how to play cricket, how to kick a rugby ball straight and how to climb a tree."

Ian, who is nicknamed "Kamo" or the "Kamo Kid" after his Northland home town, shifted south in 1994 to play rugby for North Harbour and has lived in Milford since - apart from a three-year stint in Britain before retiring from the game.

"I love Milford to bits," says Ian, a lock who played more than 100 times for the All Blacks. "The great thing about it is the kids can get themselves to school and we've got the shops, the beach and the park nearby."

With that in mind, Ian says the next move is "only about 200m down the road" to a home nearer the beach with a swimming pool.

Ian says the appeal of this home, which was renovated and extended when they bought it, lies in its north-facing aspect, landscaping with mature palms and the connection between the indoor and outdoor living spaces.

"We love Fiji and for us this home has that resort feel with the palm trees, the tiled floors and the indoor-outdoor flow when we open the house up," he says. "When you close the gates, for us it has that retreat feel."

Spread over two levels, the brick and cedar home has an open-plan informal dining and living area at the eastern end of the house with doors opening to the north-facing deck, which has a glass-roofed pergola.

"We do a lot of entertaining out here on the deck because the kitchen opens out to it and so does the TV room," says Ian.

In the time the Joneses have been here, they have painted the timber sarked ceilings white to give the home a lighter, brighter feel and a greater sense of flow. At the western end of the house, opening to another outdoor entertaining area, is the "adults' lounge" with gas fire. "Kids are allowed in here by invitation only," laughs Ian.

Outside, the sheltered courtyard is an ideal spot to sit in the evenings for Ian and Janine while the children kick a ball around on the lawn. In the corner of the front yard is a sprawling pohutukawa with a tyre swing that Ian put up, one of his most rewarding jobs around the house as the kids have had endless enjoyment out of it.

Upstairs are three bedrooms with the master suite at the eastern end of the house enjoying its own balcony, walk-in wardrobe and en suite. The cathedral ceilings here provide a great sense of space, something that Ian, at 1.98m tall, is grateful for. A bridge overlooking the living areas connects the master suite with the main bathroom and other bedrooms, which also overlook the living space but have shutters for privacy.

Although Ian no longer plays rugby he still likes to stay in shape and Milford provides an ideal environment for running, biking and swimming - something that helped when he was training for a triathlon. He still has strong ties to rugby, though, as a television presenter and comments man for Sky Sport's rugby coverage. "It's a fantastic organisation to be a part of and keeps me involved in the game."

With the Joneses moving on to the next stage of their family life, Ian says this home is well set up for new owners.

"We've raised our family here and enjoyed it, so I'm sure it will suit another family with the same values."