Charlotte and Adam Sigley weren't even looking for a country house when Charlotte's mum persuaded them to view this Redoubt Rd property. The warm sunny house, the incredible view, and of course, baby Jasper's grandparents being next door were irresistible.
"The house was completely decrepit," Charlotte recalls, "but the style really appealed to us." They knew it was cleverly designed, but only realised later that the architect was Ted McCoy, one of New Zealand's leading architects. Based in Dunedin, he has won numerous awards, including a lifetime achievement award from the NZIA for championing the nation's architectural heritage and responding to the landscape.
Charlotte and Adam liked the solid concrete-block house in the signature McCoy style. "He often used a series of gables over the main rooms, with flat-roofed connections," explains Adam. "Typically with glassed gable ends."
Working with the great bones, Adam used his development experience - and time child-minding - to supervise a careful renovation of the house and garden. The house was showing its age, and some of the 1980s embellishments - such as a hot tub and glitzy fixtures - had to go. Whitewashed walls and ceilings highlight the original rimu beams, while the sleek new bathrooms and kitchen pay homage to the retro style.
What remained was the clever layout, which works as well now as it did 40 years ago. "It's such a great floor-plan," says Charlotte. "We'd use it again when we build." The north-facing living rooms soak up the sunshine, as well as a view of the Sky Tower and Rangitoto. With slate floors acting as heat sinks, Charlotte notes they've never needed a heater, "but we do like to light the fire at nights," she says.
Those distinctive gabled roofs highlight the two main living areas, linked by a sequence of more intimate spaces. At the eastern end of the house, the kitchen is off-set so it captures the view, with those gable windows bringing in light.
Before she went to medical school, Charlotte was a dietician, so an efficient kitchen was important. Out went the dated timber and brass fixtures, in came a sleek white and stainless steel fit-out, including an induction cooktop.
Textured white tiles, timber-topped breakfast bar and new cork floors reference the 70s vibe. "The cork is amazingly quiet and warm," notes Charlotte - especially important now pre-schooler Jasper has a baby sister, Josephine. The family room's only hangover from the 80s is the sparkling chandelier that reflects the swimming pool through the full wall of sliders. An almost-invisible glass balustrade lets in the summer breezes but keeps the kids safely contained.
A carpeted "sewing room" (or formal dining) and another living area step down to slate-floored spaces that open on to the sweeping new decks and down to the flat lawn. The master bedroom overlooks another casual living area, with a sunny window seat. Charlotte doesn't have much time for sitting around, but she does enjoy the refurbished master bathroom and massive walk-in wardrobe. Blue mosaic tiles in the nearby family bathroom are a colourful reference the 70s.
Under the upstairs gable are two more sunny bedrooms and another bathroom with a distinctive turret skylight. Above the 1980s double garage is a massive loft space with rural views, an alternative office to the entry-level study. There's also an out-building that could be converted for work or play.
Adam is particularly proud of the 300-plus native plants they've established, and sustainability features like the bio-cycle sewerage and eco-energy water systems.
"It's been a privilege to live here and appreciate such a distinguished architect," he says, "we'll be developing his ideas on our next building project."By Joanna Smith