17 Vipond Rd, Stanmore Bay, Auckland. Photo / Fiona Goodall / Getty Images
17 Vipond Rd, Stanmore Bay, Auckland. Photo / Fiona Goodall / Getty Images

Andrea Knox rides a Harley Davidson, drives a tow truck and is quite the home handywoman.

She fell for this property, now dubbed Fort Knox, five years ago for its quirkiness and potential, and has spent a lot of time working on the property.

Among her list of extras are lead light windows, new walls and rooms, the garage, glass features, a macrocarpa vanity and a spa bath.

Andrea, who used to be in finance, loves to find materials - she transported the rocks in her garden from a friend's house in Leigh.

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The two-level home with both sea and river views boasts many nooks and crannies and features swirling tiles in the bathroom and a koru-themed, carved wooden floor in the kitchen/dining area.

The first owners put those in, back when the house was built in the 1990s.

"It was kind of like a boat house," Andrea says. "Apparently, it had huge ropes and everything on the outside. That was before my time.

"The kitchen window is from the Mon Desir Hotel and I used to drink there, I was there on the last night."

The iconic Takapuna hotel closed in the 1990s and its bifold windows now open out to Andrea's fenced backyard - Andrea built the fence and did the landscaping.

"For the past year I've been doing up the house and building the garage," she says. "I do a bit of carpentry. I'm a tow truck driver and I used to do finance, like mortgages, insurance. I decided I didn't want to be in an office any more."

The downstairs woodburner has koru-patterned tiles on the wall behind it and heats the upstairs, she says.

17 Vipond Rd, Stanmore Bay, Auckland. Photo / Fiona Goodall / Getty Images
17 Vipond Rd, Stanmore Bay, Auckland. Photo / Fiona Goodall / Getty Images

The stairs are accessed through swing doors and lead up to macrocarpa floors and a light-filled lounge with wraparound deck.

Up here was one big area when Andrea moved in but she added walls to create a master bedroom - which has huge windows and looks out over the Weiti River - and a second, smaller bedroom.

The master bedroom and the lounge open out to the deck where Andrea comes for the sun and the view across the sea to Orewa and beyond. Lovely touches upstairs include lead lights in the internal walls.

"I built all the walls and everything myself, and the balustrade."

The upstairs deck also looks down to Andrea's backyard, which she describes as "tropicalish" and easy care now everything is established.

17 Vipond Rd, Stanmore Bay, Auckland. Photo / Fiona Goodall / Getty Images
17 Vipond Rd, Stanmore Bay, Auckland. Photo / Fiona Goodall / Getty Images

She bought the house after her previous house sold so quickly she had to move into a friend's place. Looking online this was the first property to appear on the computer screen.

"I went 'wow, that's really cool, I quite like the look of that'," she says.

And while it's satisfying looking around knowing how much she contributed to this property Andrea is ready for another lifestyle change - has her eye on six to seven acres of bare land and dreams of designing her own home.

"I'd like to get away from suburbia and have some land around me so I'm thinking about Kaiwaka. I'm going to design a home, it's going to be mine from scratch," she says.

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