Restored 17th-century Remuera farmhouse

670 and 670A Remuera Rd, Remuera
SIZE: Land 1480sq m, house 305sq m
PRICE INDICATION: CV $1.61million. Expressions of interest close June 13
INSPECT: Sunday 1.30-2.30pm.
SCHOOL ZONES: Meadowbank Primary, Selwyn College.
CONTACT: Ross Hawkins, ph 027 472 0577, Sothebys Realty
FEATURES: Elegantly proportioned two-level home with easy flow overlooking Remuera's northern slopes; scope to add a second dwelling.
670 and 670A Remuera Rd, Remuera. Photo / Ted Baghurst
670 and 670A Remuera Rd, Remuera. Photo / Ted Baghurst

Scottish interior designer Chris Adams quips that resurrecting neglected houses seems to have become her passion in life.

The transformation of her gracious two-storey Remuera home is a testament to Chris' professional pedigree - epitomised by her talent for complementing sound bone structure with cherished antiques and refined furnishings.

Chris moved to New Zealand in 2002 after living for 13 years in Provence's Luberon Valley where she restored a 17th-century farmhouse and furnished it with hand-picked antiques.

After renovating her first Auckland home - a little weatherboard house - Chris was frustrated that the pieces of furniture she had collected or had custom-made over the years would not be given "their proper place".

Her Remuera Rd property appealed because it had the high ceilings and the large volume she needed for her furniture, an excellent north-facing aspect looking over Remuera's northern slopes and a self-contained flat to provide future income, if necessary.

When she bought the home in 2006 it had no heating, poor insulation and inadequate wiring, with only one light in most rooms.

With the help of her builder, Darryl Montgomery of D & D Construction, Chris "set about giving the house some more life".

Its resuscitation included re-gibbing, re-wiring, proper insulation and installing separate central heating, gas and alarm systems for the main house and lower-level garden flat.

The footprint and structural integrity of the house were retained but alterations included moving the south-facing kitchen to face east and to open on to the north-facing front deck - a delightful al-fresco eating area.

Recycled weatherboards and roof tiles from a dilapidated, demolished garage were used to build a portico at the front entrance which doubles as a car port and is sympathetic to the transitional bungalow elements of the house, which was built around 1915.

"We did the whole lot in one hit to get the misery over and done with - like having kids. They had to rebuild some of the internal spaces to fit around my furniture and they hated me for it," jokes Chris.

The house includes a large loft which is filled with extra furniture but could be converted into two large bedrooms and a bathroom.

She has also subdivided the 1480sq m property so that new owners have the option to build on the second section where there is a swimming pool and large lawn.

On the main level of the house, circling left to right off a generous, welcoming front entrance hall, are the formal dining room leading into adjoining kitchen and family rooms, a sunroom, drawing room, study, two bedrooms and two bathrooms, one of them an en suite.

A staircase between the family room and front deck leads down to the flat which has its own separate entrance hall, two bedrooms, a bathroom and open-plan kitchen, dining and living space that overlook the garden.

"The flat is completely self-contained and as user-friendly as possible," says Chris, who excels at practical as well as aesthetic detail.

Her practical approach includes a dumb waiter that services the upstairs kitchen and flat, kitchen skirting boards that hide drawers "for all those plates your mother gave you" and cupboards concealed behind wall paintings.

After a decade living in New Zealand, Chris plans to move back to Exeter in England.

- NZ Herald

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