Welcome to Epsom village

By Jane Loudon

37 Morvern Rd, Epsom
5
2
1
SIZE: Land 1062sq m, house 171sq m (approx).
PRICE INDICATION: Interest expected above $1.5 million.
INSPECT: Sat/Sun 2-2.40pm. Auction July 18.
SCHOOL ZONES: Epsom Normal School, Auckland Normal Intermediate School, Auckland Grammar, Epsom Girls' Grammar.
CONTACT: Mike Robson, Harcourts, ph 632 1296 or 021 484 288
FEATURES: Five-bedroom character house in double Grammar zones and close to Mt Eden Village.
37 Morvern Rd, Epsom. Photo / Geoff Dale
37 Morvern Rd, Epsom. Photo / Geoff Dale

"A lifestyle block in the middle of the city" is how the owners jokingly describe this large, elevated and private Epsom property which perfectly blends the advantages of inner-city and semi-rural living.

"We have bees, chooks, a vegetable garden, a dog, a rabbit and a large, friendly family home - all in an area that has a wonderful village-like feel and is central to everything," says Claire Duncan of the property which perches high on the corner of Morvern Rd and Watling St.

Claire and her husband Brian initially searched all over Auckland for a first home to buy when they returned from overseas to settle in New Zealand as a young married couple in 1974.

Living in the same area where they had both gone to secondary school - Claire to Epsom Girls' Grammar and Brian to Auckland Grammar School - appealed strongly so they gradually narrowed their search to Mt Eden and Epsom.

The first time they walked up the front path to this property, they both instantly felt that it had a good feel and, with its sprawling, north-facing front section, would make an excellent family home.

The rest is 37 and a half years of history in a house filled with fond memories of raising their three, now-adult, children.

The Duncans are only the second family in 86 years to have owned the 1926 bungalow which was an apple-green, single storey, three-bedroom house when they bought it.

Although modest in size by today's standards, it had good bones including well-proportioned rooms and high quality features such as solid jarrah floors, Douglas fir panelling and elegant, pastel-shaded lead lights which remain in the house and add to its timeless charm.

In three stages of renovations, the Duncans built on a new kitchen with space for a family dining table, shifted the original bathroom, laundry and toilet to create a cosy north-facing family living next to the new kitchen and finally added a second storey with two new bedrooms and a second bathroom.

Their sympathetic alterations modernised and improved the flow of the house while complementing its English country cottage style ambience with features including a pot belly stove and additional wood paneling that blended with original panelling.

The house has excellent views over Three King's Big King Reserve and the Waitakere Ranges and sits, framed by majestic native trees, on 1062sq m.

The natives include a kauri, pohutukawa, totara and rimu that have all been pruned to have high canopies so their branches do not overshadow what is a surprisingly light house.

Claire says the Duncans and their children made a village out of Mt Eden when they were young, getting to know everyone in the area including shopkeepers. "This is such a great area, that people stick here.

"Why would you want to live anywhere else?" she says. "We can walk up to Mt Eden Village or to the Lido Cinema, we're close to two great bus routes, but it feels as though we are in the country."

Having leash-free Big King Reserve at close hand is also a major bonus for the Duncans who have owned three dogs.

Now that the family no longer need a house with five bedrooms, they will downsize to a smaller property - hopefully in the same area.

- NZ Herald

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