Classic, traditional Epsom bungalow

By Donna Fleming

26 Aratonga Ave, Epsom.
SIZE: Land 809sq m, house 400sq m (approx).
PRICE INDICATION: High $2 millions to early $3 millions. Auction September 5.
INSPECT: Sat/Sun 2.30-3.15pm, Wed 5.30-6.15pm.
SCHOOL ZONES: Cornwall Park School, Remuera Intermediate, Epsom Girls' Grammar, Auckland Grammar
CONTACT: Liz de Vere, Barfoot & Thompson, ph 523 1189 or 021 630 223.
FEATURES: Brand new California bungalow-style home in popular tree- lined street. Built to high specifications with latest technology as well as period details from the 1920s. Excellent indoor/ outdoor flow with two covered outdoor entertaining areas.
26 Aratonga Ave, Epsom. Photo / Ted Baghurst
26 Aratonga Ave, Epsom. Photo / Ted Baghurst

If you didn't know any better you'd swear builder John Barrett has just completed an outstanding renovation of a classic 1920s Californian bungalow.

In fact, the reason the Epsom house is so perfectly finished is that it actually is brand, spanking new. John has done a remarkable job of replicating the ever-popular bungalow style, right down to the exterior shingles, beamed ceilings and doorknobs. The home has all the graciousness and character of houses of that era, but with all the benefits of a modern home.

From a central vacuum system and underfloor heating in the bathrooms to double glazing and smart-wiring, it is built for the 21st century with all the charm of the 1920s. "People love old bungalows but also like all the mod-cons, and this house has plenty of those," says John.

He has built spec homes for more than 35 years but says every house he works on is designed and constructed as if he would live there himself. He has researched Californian bungalows extensively and put careful thought into every aspect of this house, commissioning a family-friendly layout from architect Paul Leuschke and sourcing the best possible materials.

It's the details that make the difference, such as the curved, heated towel rail in the en suite bathroom, to the Flemish glass in several doors. The craftsmanship is meticulous, with John's sons, who've worked as builders overseas, joining him to make the house a family project.

The house is on two levels, with entry via a generous foyer on the top level. Double doors lead to a spacious lounge and dining room, which has a feature gas fireplace. Bifold doors open to a covered veranda. Next door is the equally large kitchen/dining/living room, which also opens to a patio.

The kitchen is a cook's dream: two ovens, a gas hob, a huge fridge, wine fridge and plenty of storage. The brick-style tiles and tongue-and-groove cabinetry are in keeping with the home's character and the centrepiece is a granite-topped island bench.

The laundry has lots of cupboards and a bench for folding washing, while a mud room by the back door means you can ditch filthy shoes and sports gear. Also on this upper level is a bathroom, a bedroom that is wired for use as an office and the master suite, a luxurious haven with a particularly roomy en suite and walk-in wardrobe.

Downstairs are three more bedrooms, a family bathroom with a marble bath and another living area. John confesses that if he lived there he'd put in a pinball machine and pool table.

This room has access to yet another covered outdoor entertaining area. Outside, the garden includes a stately oak tree.

John says he's delighted with the finished house. "We put our hearts and souls into this house - it's a place we could see ourselves living in. I think this house is going to stand the test of time and I hope it's bought by a family who will enjoy it for many years to come."

- NZ Herald

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