Capturing the available natural light was paramount when Felicity Letcher and Roger Murray embarked on a makeover for their family home in Westmere.
Their simple but elegant extensions and renovations with thoughtful window placement have modernised the 1910 villa.
"The biggest thing Roger wanted was to bring the light into the house," says Felicity.
The couple bought the house in 1999, charmed by the villa's pressed-steel ceilings, Art Deco fireplaces and street appeal.
They had set out to buy in Ponsonby but their budget couldn't quite stretch to that suburb's prices, and then Roger saw this house for sale in Westmere while driving to his workplace in Henderson. The couple's business is Main Reactor, the workshop responsible for the prosthetics and props used on Spartacus and the remake of Evil Dead.
"It had all the attributes of a villa but we could see that we could modernise it," explains Felicity.
They lived in the house for four years, getting to know it before embarking on the changes.
"The sun at the front of the house is glorious so the first thing we did was put in French doors and build the deck at the front. Roger did that the week I bought Stella home as a baby in 2003," says Felicity.
They revisited the room configurations in the original part of the home and designed this spacious, light-filled extension which continued the exterior's weatherboard line. New jarrah flooring was stained to match the original matai boards, with practical concrete chosen for the dining, living and lounge floors.
In keeping with the early-1900s style, pressed-steel ceilings were replicated in the renovated rooms with pressed aluminium that Roger sourced from Australia.
At the front of the home you have the deck and the welcoming front door in striking green, which opens to the hallway. Leading off here are the master bedroom, en suite and walk-in wardrobe, and then 10-year-old Stella's room on the left. On the right is the family room (which could be a fourth bedroom), opening to the front deck through the French doors, and then 7-year-old Max's bedroom, the family bathroom and laundry.
The extension floor plan is like a mirrored C, with the spacious cook-friendly kitchen, then indoor-outdoor flow to the sheltered courtyard through bifolds and ranchsliders from the kitchen and dining area, and next is the open-plan living space with gas fireplace and access to the terrace and lawn, Roger's garden shed and the children's play hut. Along the side of the house are lawn and concrete paving plus the vege and herb garden.
"It's a very easy house to live in, there are lots of different spaces," says Felicity. "And we get the sun in different parts of the home at different times of the day."
She and Roger are selling because they have bought another home they also plan to do up in nearby Fife St.
"We don't want to leave the 'hood," says Roger.
"You feel like you're part of the community here," adds Felicity."You couldn't ask for a better place to bring up your kids in the inner city.
"I think another family will fall in love with this home. But I think it would also suit an older couple downsizing or a couple about to start a family."