Natural character shines in Parnell cottage

By Donna Fleming

SIZE: Land 862sq m, house 345sq m (approx)
PRICE INDICATION: CV $2.4 million. Auction February 19.
INSPECT: Sat/Sun 12-12.45.
SCHOOL ZONES: Parnell School, Auckland Grammar School, Epsom Girls Grammar.
CONTACT: Karen Moore, Kellands, ph 520 3095 or 027 279 5983.
FEATURES: Three-level family home with generous-sized rooms and flexible living areas, including downstairs family room and bedroom. Heated swimming pool, wood-burning fire in lounge.
18 Awatea Rd, Parnell. Photo / Ted Baghurst
18 Awatea Rd, Parnell. Photo / Ted Baghurst

Looks can be deceiving. From the outside, this charming Parnell home appears rather compact.

It may have started life back in the 1930s as a cosy cottage, but today it is a large, comfortable family home over three levels, thanks to previous owners who dug out the lower ground floor and added another floor on top of the house.

It has an equally large garden, also spread over several levels.

"There is a lot more to it than initially meets the eye," says owner Brenda, whose family has lived in the house for 19 years.

"That's one of the things that appealed to us."

She also recognised that the house had the potential to adapt to the changing needs of a growing family. Her two children were toddlers when they moved in, and the house was ideal for two small children.

When they were really little, the fifth bedroom on the top level next to the master bedroom made a perfect nursery.

Later, when the children were older, they moved downstairs to the two bedrooms on the ground floor. Today, the upstairs room is used as an office.

At one stage, one of the ground floor bedrooms, which has a fireplace, was used as a dining room. A family area next to the kitchen was also used as the dining room for a spell, when the children were small. The current dining room has also been used as a living room. Meanwhile, the formal living room, which adjoins the dining room, is now where the whole family gathers.

"The way we've used the house has evolved as the children have grown up," points out Brenda. "It's been incredibly flexible."

It has also been great for older kids, with extra living space on the ground floor offering a perfect teenagers' retreat, away from the rest of the house.

One of the biggest changes Brenda oversaw involved a triple garage in the basement that was accessed by a driveway that swept down the side of the house and around behind it.

A double garage with internal access was added to the front of the house, so there was no need for the driveway, which is now part of the garden.

The former garage was then converted into a bedroom and roomy second lounge-games room. There is also a toilet and separate shower on this level and a kitchenette, which means it could be completely self-contained for extended family members or a nanny.

French doors open to a paved area and beyond that, the other major addition - a swimming pool. The terraced garden includes a landscaped area. One level used to be the children's play area but has been fenced off and is now home to six hens. Having such a spacious garden with so many mature trees makes it hard to believe the house is so close to the city.

An outlook over the pool and the garden can be enjoyed from the large deck at the back of the kitchen and the dining room. There is also a small deck off the master bedroom, with a view of Rangitoto and the harbour, around to Bastion Point.

"It's a lovely view," says Brenda. "You never get tired of it."

Brenda says if they were staying in the house she would embark on the next round of renovations.

"The kitchen is ready to be updated, although I do like the timber cabinets and the way it is laid out now works really well."

However, now that the children are older and getting more independent, the time has come to downsize and Brenda says they will leave it up to the new owners to put their stamp on the house.

- NZ Herald

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