Sun is shining, weather is sweet

By Graham Hepburn

SIZE: Land 1128sq m, house 227sq m
PRICE INDICATION: Interest expected above $1.9 million
INSPECT: Sat, Sun 1.15pm-2pm. Auction August 20
SCHOOL ZONES: Epsom Normal Primary, Auckland Normal Intermediate, double Grammar zone
CONTACT: Gerry Philpott, Barfoot & Thompson, ph 021 274 7333; Jude Philpott, 021 450 373
20 Merivale Ave, Epsom. Photo / Ted Baghurst.
20 Merivale Ave, Epsom. Photo / Ted Baghurst.

Sitting atop a hill and made of reinforced concrete, there is no denying this villa has presence and street appeal.

But it was its similarity to a resort in the West Indies where Julia and husband Ian had enjoyed a wonderful holiday that really tugged at her heartstrings.

"It just reminded me of the romantic look of the Jamaica Inn with its arches, veranda and the railings," says Julia. "I came to visit the house on my own and I rang Ian and said, 'You have to come and see this'."

She was also relieved to find a property that was going to suit their growing family.

"I was pregnant at the time and I had looked at about 100 houses," says Julia.

"We'd been living in Mt Eden for a number of years and what we wanted was space and privacy and a good-sized garden."

So Ian and Julia bought the property about three years ago and have been making improvements ever since to suit them and their three children.

The couple are the third owners and with the previous owners having lived here since the 1970s, the home was in need of updating.

Julia has also done some research on the house, which was built by Nathaniel Wilson, who co-founded Portland Cement.

"Nathaniel Wilson had a habit of building houses on hills," says Julia. "He knew what he was doing because the sun moves around the house all day."

To make the most of that sun, Julia and Ian have tamed the garden, including putting in new fencing and creating more lawn for their three boys to play on.

One of the features that sold Julia on the house is the wraparound veranda with its concrete but elegant balustrade that runs from the front door along the eastern and northern faces of the house.

"In the morning when the kids are gone, this is my favourite spot," says Julia, sitting by the front door. "It's really sunny and I'm not really looking at anything other than trees."

Inside, the 3.6m stud is impressive, particularly in the rooms with plasterwork and cornices decorating the concrete ceilings.

Ian says the combination of concrete walls and ceilings and tile roof means the house is quiet, and cool in summer and warm in winter. Putting in underfloor insulation and upgrading the central heating has also made the home more comfortable.

As well as modernising plumbing, wiring and water heating, the couple have renovated the main bathroom and opened out the kitchen to the family room.

At the front of the house, the master bedroom has a beautiful bay window looking out across the neighbourhood.

On this side of the hallway are two more bedrooms and the main bathroom, which is finished in large tiles. On the other side of the hallway is the family room and kitchen and the separate formal lounge, which both have working fireplaces.

Off the formal lounge is an office and next to that another bedroom that has a small bay window kicking out into the veranda.

From the family room you move through the kitchen and out to a large bedroom with its own entrance and en suite, making this wing of the house ideal for extended family.

This room has a peaceful outlook on the back garden where there is also a patio for barbecues in the evening sun.

Although Julia and Ian have made a lot of improvements, the home still has more scope. Julia says the home's towering roofline means there is plenty of space to build a rumpus room within the ceiling space.

- NZ Herald

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