Bywater Grange is a "lifestyle villa", perhaps more correctly a "hobby farm", set on 5.5 acres (2.2 hectares) including a deep gully through which Mystery Creek runs towards the Waikato River. The main building is 300 square metres of rambling farmhouse in 5 levels, set at the end of a long driveway, nestled between a lily farm, a vineyard, an alpaca farm, and across the creek, a dairy farm. The house overlooks the pool to Mount Pirongia in the south, the aisle of pines to the west, the lily farm to the north, and our outside entertaining area and paddocks to the east. In addition, there is a separate building with a 50 square meter workshop, plus office space and covered parking, across the upper paddock. All of the buildings are serviced with wireless broadband and 3-phase power. The main house has a total of five split levels and five bedrooms, two studies, four lavatories, lounge, dining, kitchen, laundry, double garage and attic. We reserve two of the bedrooms as a guest room and a library/extra guest room. The tower extension is intended to resemble a signal box or a country church. It is the first building you see as you approach down the driveway, and with the rest of the house it "encloses" the driveway space to give a more private feeling in comparison to the "wide open" feel looking to the south. In our time here we have renovated the kitchen, the main bathroom, the upper half-bathroom, all but one bedroom, and we have built the tower extension from scratch. The design of the tower extension is such that it can be closed off, converting it into a "parent's retreat", with lounge, bedroom, office, ensuite, robe and attic. The attic space, almost a third floor, has lighting, power, network, windows and skylight.
Click for front elevation, rear elevation, and floor plans in PDF format.
There is an aerial photo showing the location of our house relative to other properties in 2006 here, and closer aerial views from 2012 here and here.
Click here for information about the property as it was when we arrived in 2006.
Click here to look at the architect's plans for the tower addition.
The animals of Bywater - furry, fluffy, woolly, prickly and hairy.
Below are sign-off reports on our domestic improvements and projects.
We have substantially restored the irrigation system, giving us
use of a whole second water system feeding rainwater and creekwater.
We have had an offal hole dug in the top paddock.
The tower extension.
We have renovated the upstairs half-bathroom, including new sink,
floor, and plumbing.
We have renovated the main bathroom, so that it is now
uncluttered and in character with a luxury farmhouse.
We have renovated the kitchen plumbed
the refrigerator, and added a gas cooktop in a new position, with
a powerful range hood extractor system.
The driveway got awfully potholed in the wet, so we have had it graded and
we have added sand and gravel.
The first hat and coat rack on the walls of Bywater Grange,
made from wood recycled from a
With the pending arrival of Merinda's horse, we have had a lot of fencing
built or restored.
Kay has established the first vegetable garden, and it is good and large!
We needed help conditioning the pasture, that's farm-speak for mowing the lawn.
Thus we have got some sheep.
We wanted to populate our part of Mystery Creek with environmentally-friendly
fish. We wound up having to catch them ourselves.
One of the first material improvements was putting a garage door opener
on the garage door that did not already have one.
Why is Mystery Creek so named? See http://home.xtra.co.nz/hosts/Cambridge_Museum/Articles/myscrkart.htm or read our cache of the story here.
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