Anchored in the City of Sails

By Sandra Goodwin

SIZE: Land 427sq m (approx), townhouse 330sq m (approx).
PRICE INDICATION: CV $1.97 million (2011). Auction on-site at 11am, September 19 unless sold prior.
INSPECT: Sun 11.30am-noon.
SCHOOL ZONES: Ponsonby Primary School, Ponsonby Intermediate, Auckland Girls Grammar School, Western Springs College.
CONTACT: Pene Milne, Milne & Co, ph 021 919 940.
FEATURES: Urbane, freestanding 2005 contemporary home with striking harbour-to- city views and a lock up-and-leave lifestyle.
32A Hackett St, St Marys Bay. Photo / Michelle Hyslop
32A Hackett St, St Marys Bay. Photo / Michelle Hyslop

Sailing away with your beloved sounds idyllic but part of Robin McGregor's trade-off is sacrificing the spectacular views from this sophisticated St Marys Bay home.

She has re-housed her pets and farewelled vistas of the harbour lapping up against Auckland's hub to set sail indefinitely with her partner, architect Simon Stephenson.

"My favourite place there would be sitting on the upper deck off the master bedroom, sipping a glass of wine, watching the yachts race down the harbour and enjoying the play of evening light on the buildings of the CBD.

"Then again, the master bath tub with the same view is equally exquisite," she says.

A permanent resident and keen sailor, Robin has often thought she was uniquely qualified to be a Kiwi - she grew up on a sheep ranch in Washington in the United States, and played lock in a women's rugby team in Seattle.

Part-way through a round-the-world sailing trip, she docked in New Zealand for cyclone season and fell in love with the country.

She bought this freestanding St Marys Bay home new in 2005, after looking for a place close to Ponsonby Village and her yacht, Kiwi Coyote, which was moored in Westhaven Marina.

"Mostly I fell in love with the bright and open expansiveness of the house, and with the stunning views."

She was single when she bought here, so the security of living up a right-of-way appealed, along with the property's lock-up-and-leave convenience. This is one of three freestanding homes up the right-of-way. It's well positioned for harbour-meets-central city views, clear and bright on summer days or moodily atmospheric when night lights twinkle against an inky sky.

The entrance hall alongside the internal-access double garage sets the scene for generous dimensions and interior polish. Behind a tiled wall, sizeable storage facilities accompany the laundry.

Coming up to the first floor, visitors tend to be impressed by the height and increasing width of the stairwell. But once they turn the corner into the open-plan kitchen/living/dining room, the focus shifts to the picturesque view from extra-large sliding doors on to the glass-sided deck.

"32A Hackett St was made for entertaining," says Robin, reminiscing about friends who have gathered here to watch firework displays.

Some of them got creative and added their own twist to drinks at her cocktail parties, which were livened up by music from the home's multi-room sound and television system.

The kitchen is anchored by a grunty island incorporating bar seating. This open-plan swathe floored in Tasmanian oak also opens to a private rear patio with a soothing water feature.

A hallway behind the kitchen was almost redundant until Simon designed bookshelves for it. This also enabled cavity doors to be installed, so this floor can be kept cosy in winter.

There's an alternative living space in this level's media room (alternately an office), which has a separate toilet alongside.

Stairs widen again leading up to the second floor. The front-of-house master suite opens to another glass-fronted deck, from where the CBD looks picturesque. A walk-through wardrobe and an en suite share the view, outfitted with shutters for privacy.

The two other bedrooms up here are generous affairs, topping 18sq m and 19sq m. They both have big double-wardrobes and are accompanied by a separate bathroom at the top of the stairs.

The home boasts keyless entry, "Category 5" network cabling to every room, and solar-generated hot water with gas back-up.

Robin had two dogs and a cat. She found the location brilliant for dog-walking, starting with the green belt beside the motorway and strolling to Ponsonby and Jervois roads.

She and Simon have now embarked on their journey on Robin's fast, off-shore pilot-house sloop, an Elliott 15.5 Tourer, on an extended cruise across the Pacific to Australia and beyond.

- NZ Herald

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