St Mary's Bay: Glorious grand old dame

By Sandra Goodwin

7 SELBY SQUARE, ST MARY'S BAY
5
2
0*
SIZE: Land 936sq m, house (approx) 220sq m.
PRICE INDICATION: CV $2.55 million (2011). Tender closes May 29.
INSPECT: Sat/Sun 2-2.30pm.
ON THE WEB: barfoot.co.nz/475695
SCHOOL ZONES: Ponsonby Primary, Ponsonby Intermediate, Auckland Girls' Grammar, Western Springs College.
CONTACT: Liz Derbyshire or Richard White, Barfoot & Thompson Ponsonby, ph 021 661 978 (Liz), 021 964 222 (Richard).
FEATURES: *Three-car off-street parking. Historic 1880s character home enjoying wide harbour views from its large, northerly-facing grounds on Selby Square. Currently configured as two flats (three-bedroom flat upstairs; two-bedroom downstairs) but could be reinstated as one home. Classified as a Category B scheduled building under Auckland's District Plan.
7 Selby Square, St Marys Bay. Photo / Ted Baghurst
7 Selby Square, St Marys Bay. Photo / Ted Baghurst

Eighty-eight year old Margaret Parker may be sitting on a multi-million-dollar character home, but when she moved here her parents were appalled.

Her two-storey home - currently configured as an upstairs and downstairs flat - has a CV of $2.55 million and wide harbour views from its location on picturesque Selby Square.

Margaret and late husband Ronald bought this 1880s home on a big tract of land in 1964.

"We loved the view and the garden and the house, even though it was in a bit of a state.

"My parents told me they thought the property was wonderful. But they told a relative - who then told me - they thought it was appalling, probably because of the area and the fact the house needed work.

"Ponsonby was considered 'the pits' back then; the place not to live. It was a cheap place for students to live."

There was no "For sale" outside the home 48 years ago, but Margaret was so enamoured with it, she knocked on its door and asked its elderly owner Miss Sutherland (an early NZ beauty queen) if it was possible to buy it.

"She said 'don't you think you should look through it first?' We bought it for £5600 and had four loans to do that."

There was originally a carriage-way circling down to the home which Captain Brook built in the 1880s. Margaret understands its attic and front gable were added later, possibly by the Bennett family who had 16 children and a Queen Street drapery shop.

The home was converted into two flats in the 1930s and has been configured this way since. Its current rental assessment for both levels totals around $1000-$1100 weekly.

But it's likely its location and views will see new owners return it to one dwelling (with council consultation given it's a Category B scheduled building under Auckland's District Plan).

The Parkers formed a front pebbled driveway offering triple off-street parking.

Ronald loved whizzing around in his Alfa Romeo, slowing down a tad around age 80 after traffic officers caught him racing up College Hill.

The wooden home has two brick chimneys and big northerly-facing front verandas on both levels.

The glorious upstairs views made the couple call that level home; its entry via external side stairs to the upper veranda.

The front door opens into a sun-blessed open-plan living-dining room with open fireplace in marble surround.

Margaret's glorious harbour views have captured everything from the marina being built to the procession of boats when Sir Peter Blake died.

The couple gibbed scrim walls and replaced the living-dining's rimu floor with kauri.

"My husband was an architect so he knew what he was doing." They added heat pumps to supplement fireplaces.

One bedroom overlooks the garden, another is used as an office and they're served by a neighbouring bathroom.

The kitchen-breakfast room opens through French doors to a rear deck.

The third, master bedroom is upstairs in the large loft and has a toilet and another fine harbour outlook.

Downstairs' arched hallway links a lounge-dining with bay window admiring the garden, a kitchen, two bedrooms and a bathroom, with a rear deck and side courtyard.

Myriad fruit trees pepper the large, gently sloping lawn and gardens.

The Parkers rented downstairs out for decades but chose not to for the past 20 years, using it as extra space and letting occasional visitors stay there.

A couple of Margaret's dear friends have lived downstairs for the last three years and Margaret's going to live in Torbay right next door to where these friends have bought.

"I've been having trouble getting up the stairs to my place and I knew I could do with a smaller section. I hadn't really thought about all the money this house is worth."

- NZ Herald

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