Bye village, hello countryside

By Jane Loudon

SIZE: Land 720sq m, house 245sq m.
PRICE INDICATION: CV $1.76 million. Auction 1.30pm, June 26.
INSPECT: Sat/Sun 1-1.30pm.
SCHOOL ZONES: Newmarket School, Auckland Normal Intermediate, Auckland Grammar, Epsom Girls' Grammar.
CONTACT: Craig Smith, Barfoot & Thompson Mt Eden, ph 638 9158 or 029 222 0504.
FEATURES: Spacious four-bedroom character home with modern renovation, in good school zones and close to Mt Eden Village.
88 Owens Rd, Epsom. Photo / Ted Baghurst
88 Owens Rd, Epsom. Photo / Ted Baghurst

The central location of this spacious home seduced Penny and David Grayson when they settled in Auckland after living on a horse stud in Hawkes Bay for a decade then spending a year in Boston.

Both are doctors - Penny works at North Shore Hospital and David at Middlemore - so buying in Epsom, only a few minutes' drive from the motorway, meant both their commutes would be manageable rather than one of them having to battle traffic.

After moving to Auckland, the couple and daughters, Harriet, now 13, and Imogen, 11, rented in Meadowbank for six months in 2011 while they searched for a house to buy.

The older style of this transitional villa appealed to them, including its beautiful original leadlight windows, original wooden floors, high studs, plastered ceilings and ornate fireplaces.

They were also impressed by the open-plan, indoor-outdoor living space at the rear of the house that the previous owners had modernised and extended.

Despite its relatively modest street appearance, the house is surprisingly large inside. Like most traditional villas, a wide hallway runs down its centre, with three of four bedrooms opening off one side. A generous formal lounge and one of two bathrooms open off the other side.

"But there is so much great living space at the back of the house that this second lounge was superfluous, so we converted it into a fourth bedroom," says David.

Adding floor-to-ceiling cupboards along one wall of this room and a door that leads to the bathroom have turned it into a magnificent, king-sized master bedroom with its own en suite.

The other three double bedrooms are also generous spaces and the third, which the Graysons use as a guest room, also has a bathroom opening off it.

"We are both from large families and often have people coming to stay so the configuration with the bathrooms and bedrooms works really well for that."

The extension at the end of the original hallway includes a rectangular, open-plan modern kitchen with plenty of drawer and cupboard space and a central, marble-topped island that adjoins the dining area.

At the end of this joint space is a relaxed family room with well-planned, built-in book shelves.

These light-filled living spaces open, via tall glass sliding doors, to an outdoor courtyard and dining area.

Despite a slick internal renovation, outside needed work when the Graysons bought it.

David and Penny have transformed the area with clever landscaping and paving, including adding a swimming pool near the western boundary and raised vegetable beds.

They have also lightened the central hallway with a large skylight, enclosed the original carport to create a single garage with storage and added a pool house to the rear addition.

Since moving to Auckland, Imogen and Harriet have become more interested in horse riding, which has spurred the Graysons' decision to move south of Auckland.

They will miss being just a few minutes' walk from Mt Eden village, which they have fallen in love with, and the convenience of being so close to the Mt Eden Tennis Club. But the horses are winning by well more than a head.

- NZ Herald

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