Themed for a seaside dream

By Bronwyn Sell

SIZE: Land 1096sq m, house 480sq m-plus.
PRICE INDICATION: Interest above $4.8 million. Tender closes Sept 24.
INSPECT: Call agent for viewing times.
SCHOOL ZONES: Takapuna Normal Intermediate, Takapuna Grammar, Westlake Boys' High, Westlake Girls' High.
CONTACT: Andrew Dorreen, Precision Real Estate, ph 215 0737 or 021 747 334.
FEATURES: Luxurious renovated home near waterfront. Extensive living areas opening to private courtyard, cabana, pool and lawn. Large master suite with deck and sea views.
13 Brett Ave, Takapuna. Photo / Ted Baghurst
13 Brett Ave, Takapuna. Photo / Ted Baghurst

When Emma and Andrew Bull embarked on a major renovation of their home, they wanted a sophisticated design that would reflect their beachside lifestyle.

"We wanted to be on holiday every day," says Emma. "And we wanted to get that feeling into the house."

They bought the property about three years ago - a 1990s house ready for renovation on one of Auckland's most sought-after streets. With the waterfront a few houses away and both Takapuna and Milford Beaches within strolling distance, they settled on a sophisticated Balinese resort theme that would pick up on the seaside vibe.

Helped by architect Julian Guthrie, they spent about 18 months transforming the house.

The country-style kitchen had to go. In its place they installed a dramatic dark kitchen, with dark-stained American oak veneer cabinetry, a thick, polished granite benchtop made from a single slab (with a matching benchtop in the scullery), Italian light fittings and - the piece de resistance - a metallic gold splashback.

Capping it off are dark-stained American oak floorboards, which they continued throughout the main open-plan living and dining area and entrance.

They reconfigured the house's layout to work better as a family home, suitable for them and their two sons, one of whom was still a preschooler when they bought the home, with the other well into his teens.

Downstairs - in addition to the open-plan living area and kitchen, a separate northeast-facing formal lounge and a bedroom they use as a playroom - they built a media room. With an enormous viewing screen, soaring pitched ceilings, deep carpets, thick velvet curtains and hidden blue accent lighting, it's an inviting entertainment retreat. But, on a sunny day, the velvet curtains and west-facing sliding doors can be swept aside and the skylight opened to bring in the sunshine.

Off this room, they built a loggia with several options to suit different weather and moods. With two permanent walls and two plantation-style shuttered walls that slide away, a Louvretech opening roof and an Indian sandstone tiled floor, it can be an open-air barbecuing and dining area that seamlessly connects to the sandstone courtyard, pool and lawn.

"In the summertime it's absolutely fantastic," says Emma.

If the weather's marginal, they can close the roof and all or some of the shutters, and light the gas fire for a cosy snug. It's also a favourite spot for Andrew to work in from home.

They also reconfigured the upper floor, creating a huge master bedroom with a deck to the north and a balcony to the east, as well as a stunning en suite and a walk-in-wardrobe that's designed to reflect a high-end boutique.

The children have their own wing, which can be closed off, with three double bedrooms and two bathrooms.

The Balinese theme continues outdoors on the near quarter-acre section, with the pool, a cabana, a bowling green-flat lawn and a striking tropical garden.

Emma says she'd intended to be in the house long-term, and they chose quality fittings and furnishings with that in mind - but another project has presented itself: a clifftop property nearby in Milford.

"I'm really struggling with letting this place go after we put so much work into it," she says. "When friends walk in the door they say they feel they're in Fiji or Bali, and that's what we wanted to achieve.

"I'll miss what we've done here but we're going from one amazing location to another amazing location."

- NZ Herald

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