Larry Hennessy doesn't want to blow his own trumpet. But it's evident that an act of generosity on his part rewarded him with this beautiful home flowing out to picturesque gardens.
Four-and-a-half-years ago, he was happily ensconced in his previous Greenhithe home of 20 years, which he'd shared with his late wife Joan. It wasn't his wife's passing which prompted relocating; it was an approach from a neighbour with a young disabled son.
"He said he wanted to buy my property so his parents-in-law could be close. At first, I said I wasn't thinking about selling but when he came back and asked me again the next year I thought 'Well, it would be nice for his boy to have his grandparents close by, whereas it wouldn't really make a big difference to me if I lived in another property'."
Larry's property search led him to this architecturally designed weatherboard family home. It flows out to expansive and private landscaped gardens, suitable for the 86-year-old's beloved black standard poodle Polly and golden cocker spaniel Penny. Its previous owners built it in 1989, combining modern convenience with the grace of a bygone era.
"I fell for this house as I stepped through the door." The home's elegant architecture, with six sets of French doors creating flow from all main rooms to deep verandas, reminds Larry of Queensland villas.
"It has a very good layout and the carpentry in the house is beautifully done - it's obviously been built by a craftsman." Detailed veranda pillars are just one of many examples illustrating the workmanship.
Abundant windows and glass doors create the sort of light and bright interior that is universally appealing. This particularly enamoured Larry because of his limited eyesight. "I have peripheral vision but my central vision is dim."
The home is down a shared driveway near the end of a quiet no-exit street. Electronic security gates open to off-street parking and turning space fronting a garage with workshop, toilet and room for three cars.
Inside the home, living spreads out across a lounge with gas fireplace, a dining room with particularly pretty windows and an open-plan kitchen-family room. This open-plan spread includes an informal dining bay, wooden detailing including a high wood-sarked ceiling, and a second gas fire. The home also has three heat pumps, a home ventilation system and an alarm.
A bonus little room opening off two bedrooms lends itself to a study/homework room. Completing the layout is a light-filled master bedroom with en suite and walk-in wardrobe, a room able to be a fourth bedroom, office or living space plus a family bathroom, laundry and storage.
Daughter Teri (also pictured) has enjoyed socialising on the wide verandas and decks. Larry says, "Sitting out here having lunch with the family at this time of year is absolutely delightful." Outdoor highlights include a Lutyens bench under a wisteria-laden arbour, a gazebo, raised vege gardens and a ponga walk to one of two garden sheds.
The former British Army Major's eyesight stopped him driving nine years ago. He says he wouldn't go into a rest home because it'd mean giving up his dogs. He's purchased a smaller property in Orewa where the particularly flat neighbourhood makes walking easier for him.
Larry says having had a companion in this larger home has been nice company as well as helpful for challenges caused by his eyesight. "But it really would be ideal as a family home, perhaps with children running around these gardens."By Sandra Goodwin