You can just imagine the fun at the housewarming for this holiday home when it was built in the 1950s. All the guests were brought over from Auckland on a chartered launch and partied on through the day and into the evening.
More than half a century later, the brick home is still impressive, having been well maintained and cherished by only two families in those six decades.
The Awaawaroa Point home was designed and built by a Mr and Mrs McCallum, with Mr McCallum rejigging a matchbox model of the house until he was happy with the design.
Not only is the home simply beautiful, but the attention to detail will impress design connoisseurs. With all materials shipped over, as there was no road access when the house was built, much of the cabinetry is built in. For instance, kitchen cupboards reveal a lazy Susan and a pull-out spice rack, below the rich red Formica benchtop with chromed edging.
Margot Robinson and Diane Hill, whose parents Keith and Clare Hattaway, bought the home off the McCallums in the mid 80s, say the design would have been ahead of its time. They have made only minor changes, laying chequerboard lino in the kitchen and bathroom, carpet in the bedrooms and repainting interior walls. "But we wanted to keep its character," says Margot.
It's a privilege to be invited to visit this home; it feels like someone has bottled charm from another era in a time capsule. Even the journey here -10 minutes from the car ferry at Kennedy Point, about 15 to 20 from Matiatia - is a pleasure, rolling past Whakanewha Park and along Gordons Rd, passing lambs and calves, and marvelling at the clear water in the bays below.
The house sits atop a ridgeline above Awaawaroa Bay on one side, Deadmans Bay on the other. Views stretch over the island and back to the city. The house always presents at least one sheltered side no matter how hard the wind is blowing, and Margot and Diane say they follow the sun around the house, starting with breakfast on the balcony.
Inside, the front door opens to the hallway, with the main bedroom on the left, its French doors opening to the balcony. On the right are two more bedrooms, then directly in front is the kitchen. Off to the right are the distinctive yellow and black bathroom and standalone toilet plus another bedroom with bunks.
On the other side of the kitchen is the lounge and dining room, with curved walls, bay window seats, Hinuera stone fire surround, built-in mirrored shelves and doors opening to the balcony.
Sisters Diane and Margot smile as they reminisce about holidays here after their parents bought the house when they retired from farming at the bottom end of Waiheke. They tell of their Mum and her "Golden Girl" friends staying for weekends, and Diane and Margot would come over by boat and wander up the hill to join in the fun. Their mother would clear the lounge and play indoor bowls. Another time Clare set the table outside on the lawn, to enjoy a candlelight evening meal as the lights of Auckland came on. At long weekends, the bay below would fill up with boats as the sisters settled in, playing LPs and cranking up the volume on the vintage radiogram in the lounge.
For meals, they would wander down to the bay to fish. "Flounder for breakfast, snapper for dinner," says Margot.
But now Margot and Diane are selling because their father died in 1988 and their mother is in care after suffering a stroke. It's a time of letting go. "The time has come for someone else to enjoy it like we have done over the years," says Diane." It's just a magnificent piece of real estate for someone who appreciates the architecture and would enjoy it as a family home or their holiday home."