Classic Kiwi bach in a coastal hot spot

By Joanna Smith

SIZE: Land half-share of 1499sq m, house 130 sq m.
PRICE INDICATION: CV $2.8 million. Tender closes April 12.
INSPECT: Saturday 1-2pm.
SCHOOL ZONES: Mairangi Bay School, Murrays Bay Intermediate, Rangitoto College, Westlake Girls' and Boys' High Schools.
CONTACT: Nadja Court, Barfoot & Thompson Mairangi Bay, ph 478 9089 or 021 777 690
FEATURES: Waterfront property in same family ownership since 1937, with boat shed. Current cedar Kiwi bach designed by Jasmax Architects in late 1980s.
42 Whitby Cres, Mairangi Bay, Auckland.  Photo / Geoff Dale
42 Whitby Cres, Mairangi Bay, Auckland. Photo / Geoff Dale

There can't be too many beachfront properties in Mairangi Bay that are still the family bach. Let alone one that has been loved by the same family since 1937.

This slice of Kiwi paradise mirrors the changing life and times of Auckland. From remote beach settlement, to war-time lookouts, then post-Harbour Bridge suburban encroachment, "the Point" has seen it all.

And Harold Marshall - now Sir Harold - remembers it from his first visits as a boy. "It took all day to get from Mt Albert, with the car ferry to Devonport, long drive through the North Shore, and down the track to the beach. Even more of a drama when we brought the pony," he recalls.

These days it's only 20 minutes from the city, and the original hut has become another piece of classic Kiwi design. With Harold following in his father Arthur's footsteps as a lecturer at the School of Architecture, the 1989 replacement house had to be something special.

Sir Harold recruited former student Hamish Boyd - now a director at Jasmax Architects - to realise his vision of a quintessential bach.

The silvered cedar building is as fresh as when it was built, carefully sited to capture the sun and views around the bays and across to Rangitoto.

The gently curved roof recalls an up-ended boat and deflects the prevailing winds. Sir Harold's knighthood is for architecture and acoustical engineering, so every detail in the house has been considered. Sturdy recycled timber columns, quirky stained glass and knotted rope hand-rails reflect the nautical setting.

The house was designed as a family lodge. Down a private drive with ample parking and carport, the entry is at mid-level. The macrocarpa ceiling sweeps over two levels, with carefully framed views of the sea through high windows and French doors.

The entry-level snug overlooks the open-plan dining and living areas. Deep wrap-around verandas provide year-round outdoor living, flowing on to a flat lawn with harbour views framed by pohutukawa.

The kitchen was designed as a "bach kitchen" but has delivered Christmas dinners for 30 family members. Down a curving path to the tideline is the stone boathouse. It was built after the Home Guard sliced away the point for the war-time searchlight beam.

Sir Harold remembers: "Dad saw the possibilities and we teenage boys enjoyed great summers hauling rocks, watching out for girls, and catching snapper for dinner."

As well as boat storage and launching ramp, the boathouse's flat roof is the favourite summer living spot for family and friends.

The house was designed to accommodate several generations at once, with upper and ground levels each housing two double bedrooms and bathrooms. A bunkroom with leadlight windows has delighted children, while the master bedroom captures those magnificent views with a sunny Juliet balcony. Another bathroom off the laundry at entry level is handy for rinsing off after a swim.

The house and its harbour views also appealed to tenants, including Sir Peter Blake and family, who lived there during the America's Cup Challenge. At low tide they too could have wandered along the causeway to nearby Mairangi Bay village, or pulled up a snapper at high tide.

With the original family now spread over several generations and continents, it's time to let go. Covenants on the property do allow redevelopment, but in the meantime this interpretation of the classic Kiwi bach is ready for another family to enjoy.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 05 Dec 2016 13:01:02 Processing Time: 711ms