No one will be happier to see The Oaks on Neville finished than Warwick and Hueline Massey, who will be the first residents to move into the 62-unit village complex in early August.
They put their names down for a fourth-floor apartment back in 2015, when building work was expected to be done and dusted in 18 months, and sold their rural property in Perry Road, south of Warkworth.
They moved into a small unit in town just as the project encountered a number of water and groundwork challenges that required extra time, work and redesigns.
Warwick is an architect by profession and Hueline an architectural draughtswoman, so they understand better than most why some delays occurred.
“When I was doing architectural work, I did a lot of supervision of big buildings, so could see what they were up against,” Warwick says. “But they had an enormous labour force and did a great job. I think people have really tried on every side to do the best thing they possibly can, and we’ll be the beneficiaries of that. There are some nice details and they haven’t scrimped.”
Being in the heart of the town centre within easy reach of shops, cafes and services was the main reason for choosing The Oaks. They had originally looked for a small plot of land where they could design and build their own home in central Warkworth, but couldn’t find a suitable or cost effective site. Signing up for an apartment at The Oaks turned out to be the ideal solution.
The village swimming pool was a big drawcard for Hueline.
“We wanted to be able to feel life beyond the village. We want to go out. We go to all the Warkworth Music concerts at the Town Hall, and our doctor, the dentist, the library – everything is all just there,” Hueline says. “And we didn’t want a garden. I’m over gardening. I’ve worked as a gardener, I had five acres, I’ve grown thousands of plants, so I’ll be happy just have a few pots here on the balcony.”
The other attraction was the developers’ flexibility and willingness to let the couple tweak the apartment design to suit their own personal needs. The number of original bedrooms has been dropped from three to two, so Warwick and Hueline can accommodate what was the heart of their old home, their treasured kauri family dining table, and a large wardrobe has been remodeled to form a store room.
The layout of the kitchen has also been altered to suit.
“We brought our revised ideas and they said, ‘no problem, come and have a chat about what you want’, and they just did it,” Hueline says. “It’s one of the benefits of being first in.”
She is also looking forward to using the swimming pool.
“I will definitely be using the pool. It’s one of the reasons I was really keen, I love swimming. I hope that even people who don’t swim get in and just walk, because it’s really good on your joints.”
After three years of being in residential limbo, Warwick and Hueline have the movers booked and are keen to finally move in and turn the new apartment into their home.
“We’re looking forward to feeling settled,” she says. “And it will be really nice not to have everyone we meet ask, ‘when are you moving?’ any more!”