Space to spread your wings

By Sandra Goodwin

SIZE: Land 924sq m (approx), house 625sq m (approx).
PRICE INDICATION: CV $5.6 million (2011).
INSPECT: Sat 2-2.45pm. Auction: October 9 (unless sold prior).
SCHOOL ZONES: Victoria Avenue School, Remuera Intermediate, Auckland Grammar, Epsom Girls Grammar.
CONTACT: Gary and Vicki Wallace, Bayleys, ph 0274 988 585 (Gary) or 021 988 585 (Vicki).
FEATURES: Big 2007 solid masonry home with timber accents, lift, upper-level views and heated in-ground pool. Includes two indoor- outdoor loggia or galleries, family room, lounge, home theatre, entertainment room and office.
68 Arney Cres, Remuera. Photo / Ted Baghurst
68 Arney Cres, Remuera. Photo / Ted Baghurst

Open-home times for the Shepherd family's home were extended to 45 minutes early on; half an hour just wasn't enough for buyers to explore this whopping home.

Fiona Shepherd, a medical GP, explains the spaciousness of this upmarket Remuera house was one of the key factors that attracted her close-knit family of five to it three years ago.

She and investment banker husband Brett had been living in Kohimarama with their three children Kyle, 26, Moana, 25, and Marcus, 21.

"We wanted something bigger because of having adult children at home, who we knew were going to stay a while until they finished their degrees," she explains.

"Location was also important. This has been great for Brett working in the city, the kids at university and me hopping on the motorway at Greenlane to work in Manukau."

The three-level 2007 home with weatherboard accents projects from an elevated, fenced corner site with stellar upper-level views.

Fiona's unsure what quirk of history led to its two letterboxes and dual addresses of 68 Arney Cres and 58 Arney Rd.

Pedestrian entry is from Arney Cres and visitors approaching the big, black entry doors get to admire a towering pohutukawa tree in the front lawn. The Shepherds have just completed work on the grounds, extending the lawn and combining subtropical and native planting.

The massive entry foyer introducing this mid-level heralds spaciousness throughout. Views sweeping from the Auckland Museum and Sky Tower around the harbour to Rangitoto make upstairs the natural place to entertain, and is the couple's favourite place to relax.

This level is made distinctive by a covered loggia or gallery at one end. Two huge glass sliding doors meeting in one corner can be pulled back, converting it to more of an outdoor space. Fiona singles out outdoor sofas flanking a gas fireplace on the deck beyond as her and Brett's favourite place to relax on Saturdays.

The family room extending along the home's entire northern face culminates in a sophisticated dark-oak kitchen with speckled stone bench-tops. There's an informal dining area to one side, and the kitchen's dish-drawer and stove are supplemented by an oven-microwave and a built-in coffee maker in the substantial scullery.

"Brett's part-Maori and I'm part-Samoan, and we have a large whanau. Everyone loves coming here," says Fiona, noting that the lift comes in handy for elderly aunts and uncles.

"The size of this house means the children can spread out across different levels. But the boys still tend to like this upper-level family room the best. Perhaps because it's near the fridge."

The family room's double-sided gas fire looks through to a formal dining room that the Shepherds have preferred to use for their pool table. Internal cavity sliders mean the family room and another lounge on this level can be open-plan or segmented off.

Bedrooms are the focus of the mid-floor with the exception of that roomy entry foyer and an office that could be a fifth bedroom. The north-facing master bedroom's dressing room was a selling point for Fiona, who qualified as a doctor in her mid-30s. Its bathroom-sized en suite, with freestanding bath and choice of shower heads in the walk-in shower, includes hidden storage behind mirrors.

Two bedrooms rely on a family bathroom and separate toilet, while the fourth bedroom with its en suite would make good guest accommodation.

The ground floor has a heated in-ground pool glistening outside a loggia/gym opening off an entertainment room. Daughter Moana now runs her business, so is using an additional home theatre room as her bedroom-office.

A bathroom, laundry, two storage rooms and the internal triple-garage round out this level, with additional secure off-street parking outside.

Soon the Shepherds will have only one son at home, so they'll require less space.

- NZ Herald

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