01 Dec Homeowner of the month – Miranda Spary
Meet Miranda Spary, our homeowner of the month, to find out all about her stunning home on Lake Hayes near Queenstown, New Zealand.
This month we caught up with the lovely Miranda Spary whose 7 bed farmhouse on stunning Lake Hayes is ideally situated to explore Queenstown and the surrounding area. Her home is perfect for families with children in tow, with a huge farmhouse kitchen, indoor and outdoor dining and fireplaces, vast gardens to play in, and even games, lego and dress ups for little visitors.
We love your home – when did you buy it? And why Lake Hayes?
It took my husband a very long time to persuade the old lady who owned this farm that he was a suitable person to sell it to. She had him working like a dog, cleaning the windows and helping out for three years proving he had the necessary grit to become its next owner. It was well worth it, especially the window cleaning bit – this farmhouse sits at the top of a huge garden and sparkly clean windows let you see all the magic of the trees as they change clothes so dramatically each season. It also lets you look straight at the snow conditions on Coronet Peak and the Remarkables before deciding where to go skiing each day.The best bit about living here at Lake Hayes, apart from its being the most beautiful part of this very beautiful country (we are HOPELESSLY biased!) is the location. We are only a fifteen minute walk maximum to Amisfield, Akarua and Wetjacket wineries, and by using the newly created Queenstown Trails network, we can get anywhere in the district biking or walking without having to go on the roads. Whether you are going shopping or out for coffee, or off to play golf or to see a movie, you can be having a fabulous time just getting there. Commuting is total pleasure here.
The interiors are beautiful and so welcoming, who is responsible for the creating the look?
Our house is not designed – it is just a big old, stone farmhouse built in 1860 – we have no interior design skills but we do have lots of very talented friends who “suggest” in forceful ways that we make certain changes and they are always right. We have five children – all grown up now – and our aim was always to have a house that everyone could relax and be comfortable in, not worry about breaking or dirtying things. Our house is expert in this regard.
Can you share what do you love most about our home?
The main criticism we get about our house is that people just don’t bother leaving it. The Queenstown area is world famous for the huge variety of ways visitors can keep themselves busy – staggering scenery, masses of adrenalin sports, terrific ski fields and golf courses – take one look at the Destination Queenstown website! But our visitors just sit and blob. Listening to the birds, or heading out with a basket and secateurs to pick peonies and roses in summer, or daphne and wintersweet when it’s cooler is very appealing. Children come in with fistfuls of strawberries from the garden and lie under the plum trees gorging themselves while they read their book in the shade. There is a tennis court for the energetic or an early morning run round the lake, but we always hear the same thing – “We kept meaning to go out and explore but somehow, the days just slipped by – it’s so heavenly just snuggling down in the library by the fire, or cooking up a storm in the big kitchen”.
We can tell you you really love your home, what made you choose to join Stay One Degree?
Until recently, we have mostly just rented our house to friends, as it’s very much a family house and we weren’t sure about renting to people we didn’t know. We found out about Stay One Degree after discovering that two of our favourite places in the world to stay – Elie in Scotland (view home), and Koh Samui in Thailand (view home), are both listed with them. We joined up and discovered that we knew masses of the other people who had listed their houses too. The concept is so brilliant – it is lovely staying somewhere new but being able to explore it from a house that feels like home – where there are books and toys and really good local information about what to do and see makes it feel like staying with friends, and isn’t that the perfect way to holiday?
It seems like you know the local area pretty much inside out, what are your top tips for a visitor?
Go to the movies at Dorothy Browns in Arrowtown – big comfy seats, and buy a bottle of local pinot noir and a cheeseboard to enjoy during the movie. Quite the most sensational way to enjoy a great film.
The cinema option requires very little effort … my advice is to learn something new. Golf, gold panning skiing, painting, photography, winemaking…. – this is the greatest learning place on the planet. Give yourself the best souvenir by taking home a new skill and passion.
We know NZ is a foodie heaven, anywhere local that we just must try?
Foodie things abound – Fergburger really is as good as they say. Breakfast or lunch at Chopshop never disappoints. Lord Patten once wrote in the FT “If you’re going all the way to NZ, you must go to Queenstown, and if you go there, you are a fool if you don’t eat at Botswana Butchery, and if you are eating there, you simply have to order the shoulder of lamb”. He’s a very smart guy, that Lord.
Patagonia is the best chocolate and ice-cream maker anywhere. VERY superior hot chocolate on a cold day, and their pinot noir and cherry truffles are the stuff of dreams. The shop at the end of the mall near the lake in Queenstown does very dangerous things with chocolate that comes out of a tap and sets hard on ice-cream. Need I go on?