Shayne Hubert has never lived in New York but he has created a home that emulates the edgy, urban feel of a modern apartment in the Big Apple.
Hubert built this six-bedroom home at the Ponsonby Rd end of Crummer Rd eight years ago when his four children were aged between 8 and 16. "I wanted to build a New York-style apartment that would also suit a family with teenagers where the kids and adults could have their own spaces," says Shayne, who runs his company, City Build Construction, from a street-level office that he built as part of the home.
Sprawling over three levels with 350sq m of internal floor space, 350sq m of courtyards and decks and a 9.3m swimming pool, the house maximises indoor-outdoor living and has the benefits of inner-city living.
The Huberts knocked down a commercial building on the 427sq m site, which is zoned for commercial and residential use. They commissioned Nick Molloy Architecture, which had designed their previous home in Westmere, and interior designer Frankie Hofland, to work with them on this house.
"I liked the idea that from the outside, the property would not look like a house, so you get a surprise when you come inside."
The house is constructed out of pre-cast concrete, with concrete floors, has high-quality aluminum joinery, large floor-to-ceiling windows and generous stud heights of 2.7m to 3m.
Restaurants, cafes and retail stores are on its doorstep and Ponsonby Rd is a few minutes' walk away. But despite being in a busy area, the house feels completely private once you are inside.
"There is also a great sense of community in this area. We have become good friends with some of our neighbours who also live in the buildings they run their businesses from."
The home's clever design includes having two entrances - one through the four-car garage and another which takes you either into the separate office space or up stairs to the mid and top levels.
The top level of the house includes a spacious, north-facing master bedroom on the street side of the house, with a big en suite, walk-in wardrobe and a separate storage area that could be used as a small office space.
A bridge that crosses above the swimming pool takes you to the separate "kids' wing", which includes four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a large lounge and deck that overlook the swimming pool. The mid level of the house includes the main kitchen that adjoins a sun-drenched family room, the swimming pool, a games room with a second kitchen, a guest bedroom, fourth bathroom and large laundry that opens out to a rear courtyard. These rooms are all connected by an internal courtyard on two levels, divided by planter boxes with mature trees.
The bottom level includes the office and the four-car garage with storage area.
The house is oriented to make the most of the sun, which bathes the kitchen, breakfast bar and master bedroom in the morning and moves into the courtyard areas during the day.
Shayne says the house has been fantastic for entertaining and that the family has loved its central location. But now that the children are nearly all adults there is no longer a need for such a big home.