Prue Armstrong laughs a little guiltily about the house that she and husband Mark Page scored 18 months ago. It's on Walters Rd, next to the landscaped pedestrian walkway from Kingsland station to Eden Park, finished in time for the Rugby World Cup.
"We love it, but we're Aussies so we're not really rugby fans," she confesses. "But we love sport and it's such a really, really great atmosphere for games, it's a party."
Prue is grateful to the previous owners of the property who, with neighbours, negotiated with Auckland Council during the construction of the walkway. The result is a quality piece of landscaping and some beaut stone walls edging the property, built from Mt Eden rocks and looking like they've been there since the house was built.
Prue and Mark bought the gracious bay villa with plans, pleased that the previous owners had already completed 90 per cent of the consent process so they could get on with building a generous 80sq m kitchen/dining/family room on the back of the old house. The couple had been living in an apartment in Grey Lynn, but when their daughter grew to toddlerhood, they wanted a classic place with some lawn.
As well as the add-on, the rebuild included creating a master en suite and walk-in wardrobe from the old living room, converting the old kitchen and bathroom into one big luxury bathroom and renovating the remaining rooms.
"We only made minor changes to the plans," says Prue. "I spent a lot of time on the kitchen, I'd never done a kitchen before."
Prue and Mark work in the plumbing business, so it is no surprise that the highlights of the house are the superb bathrooms and the kitchen. The couple stuck to a black, white and charcoal palette, using the most up-to-date tap fittings and materials. In the family bathroom the rain head shower is enough to keep the Amazon jungle damp, but Prue was careful to add women-friendly shower heads too, as well as a luxury soaking tub and plenty of slick cabinetry, including walls of medicine cabinets behind the mirrors.
Prue loves visitors' reaction to her laundry -- remodelled from the old lean-to that marked the end of the original property, it is loaded with mud-room features, including acres of storage, room for drying racks and a back door. In the back living room Prue plumped for a rich, glossy black for the kitchen storage wall, complemented by slick white for the island and stained American oak floors. She was thrilled with the work of McGregor Kitchens, tucking in storage and great lighting. Plenty of insulation, double glazed north-facing sliding glass walls and a fire keep this room toasty in winter. The walls slide back to a deck and lawn for entertaining.
The couple were lucky that many original features remain, including pressed tin ceilings, windows and doors. They've polished and stained the wood floors, adding carpet to bedrooms and plenty of wardrobes and storage. Although there is no garaging, there is plenty of off-street parking.
Prue and Mark so enjoyed rebuilding that they plan to take on another project, putting to use their experience and the relationships they built with a crew of terrific tradies.