A rare, valuable cache of character homes and land is for sale.
The Stevens family have held on to a substantial landholding with a historic homestead, a cottage and glorious harbour views for over 50 years - despite the calls of many a developer.
Mid-last century, Muriel Stevens was an accomplished Australian soprano touring New Zealand when she fell in love with and went on to marry fellow music lover Chip (now deceased). Back around 1958 the couple bought four adjacent titles, one bearing a character-filled, mid- to late-1800s home already referred to as the Burford homestead.
They raised their children, Richard and Annie, here, with all the extra land serving as their backyard. Over ensuing years their Mellons Bay location has become increasingly built up and premium, leading many developers to try to buy this valuable cache of land. Annie says of her parents' purchase: "It was their dream property. They loved the view, the land and the character of the house."
Muriel still lives in the charming homestead but it's time to move on so all four titles are up for sale; able to be purchased separately or as a whole.
Current zoning suggests two titles can already be further subdivided and re-aligning boundaries across all four would create seven properties.
Number 185 Bleakhouse Rd offers the two-bedroom homestead, barn and a brick well (which all have a heritage classification under the district plan) plus a double garage. Number 187 cossets a two-bedroom cottage the Stevens added in the 1960s. The two Burfood Pl addresses, which have served as extended grounds, are ripe for development. All four titles are a brief walk from Mellons Bay beach and enjoy splendid sea views.
Street entry to both the homestead and the cottage are on Bleakhouse Rd - it's believed the homestead was built by an early Fencible couple to replace their sod cottage, sometime in the mid- to late-1800s. Little has been changed within. As son Richard explains, "There was nothing about it my parents didn't love. That's why they didn't see the need to make a lot of changes over the years."
A pergola entwined with wisteria introduces the weatherboard home, which features native timbers including kauri and wooden wall panelling in native puketea. It's generous for a two-bedroom dwelling thanks to its choice of living spaces. A breakfast room prefaces the large wood-panelled lounge-dining room which has an open fireplace, fine views and doors out to sunny verandas. The cosy den also features wooden wall panelling. As well as two bedrooms, there are two sunrooms, a long kitchen and a bathroom plus separate toilet off the entry foyer.
Annie says: "It's orientated beautifully for the sun and the light and the seasons."
Richard loved growing up so close to the sea and hanging out with his mates in the two-storey, multi-room barn (his teenage bedroom). Annie loved the fact all the land enabled them to grow up with a menagerie of animals including her ponies and a sole family sheep.
In fact, their father used to take the back seat out of his Bentley every year to transport the sheep to be shorn, once prompting a road worker to comment: "Look at that - a chauffeur-driven sheep!"
The neighbouring weatherboard cottage with sea views has two bedrooms, a kitchen, bathroom-laundry and a living-dining area opening to a sea-facing veranda.