Kylie Sanderson owns two galleries, but her favourite artwork is her home.
Many city-dwellers aspire to own an idyllic bolt-hole, a place to escape from the stresses of weekday life. Kylie Sanderson was determined to make this dream a reality – and she has, recently finishing her stunning architecturally-designed place of relaxation. But never did she expect it to take six very challenging years.
“Still, the wait was definitely worth it,” says Kylie, as she gazes out at the magnificent view she refused to part with. “You do feel like you’re on top of everything here. I really feel like the house has made the most of this incredible site.”
Rewind to 2007, and Kylie and her former husband agreed Leigh was the ideal place to build their city retreat. The small community is surrounded by beautiful beaches, bush, farmland and vineyards, and is only an hour’s drive from Auckland. And here, nestled down a dirt road, they came across six acres of land offering amazing panoramic views of the coastal area.
But, while the section was picture-perfect, the few years that followed its discovery were not. In 2008, the Global Financial Crisis struck and business slowed. Kylie is the owner of Sanderson Contemporary Art – and at that time art was a luxury many could not afford. Adding to the financial stress, Kylie and her husband went their separate ways. She kept the land, which remained vacant. “I didn’t really know what to do with it,” Kylie recalls. “With the recession hitting I couldn’t sell it as no-one would pay what we’d paid for it. I just didn’t have the money to develop it. And having a mortgage going out for a piece of land that you’re not using month after month is pretty demoralising.”
But Kylie weathered the financial storm – recently opening her second gallery in Herne Bay and relocating her original one to Newmarket. She also fell in love again, with Welshman Martin Purnell. “Martin came up here with me and was blown away by the place,” she says. “We really wanted to build a house on the land and enjoy it together.”
Words Caroline Botting
Photography Larnie Nicolson