Land 371sq m, house (approx) 249sq m.
SIZE: $2.5 million-$3.5 million. Sale by negotiation.
PRICE INDICATION: $2.5 million-$3.5 million. Sale by negotiation.
INSPECT: Sat/Sun 1pm-1.45pm.
SCHOOL ZONES: Bayfield School, Ponsonby Intermediate and Western Springs College.
CONTACT: Patrick McCarthy, 0272 333 988, UP Real Estate.
* Plus 1 OSP

Seven years ago, one of Sally Tagg's dear friends told her this former Auckland Electric Power Board substation would be the perfect home for her.

When Sally walked through the door of the concrete building, which was converted into a home in the early 1990s, she saw immediately how it suited her down to the ground.

"Its high stud and beautiful light really suits the work I do," Sally says.

Sally is a botanical artist, photographer and sculptor who prefers to work with natural light.


She creates her botanical artworks by constructing arrangements made with flowers, plants and leaves and then photographs them, often printing the images on vinyl so they can be displayed outside.

Magazine readers may recognise her name from her photography shoots for NZ House & Garden, NZ Gardener and Australian Women's Weekly. Sally mostly works from home, so it was important to find a home that doubled as a studio.

"My life is a shoot and the whole house is a studio," she says.

Sally is unsure of exactly when the substation was built, but understands it was most likely in the 1940s.

Built in an Art Deco style with fluted detailing around the outside, its concrete walls are 30cm thick.

"It was built to withstand internal combustion," Sally says.

Now the concrete walls mean the building has other qualities. It's very quiet and the concrete's thermal mass means it's cool in summer and warm in winter.

A lush, subtropical courtyard garden at the front of the house is private and secure thanks to a fence and keypad-entry gates.

The garden is partially protected from the elements by a discreet canopy that Sally had installed to provide sheltered outdoor living - and to be a dry place to photograph outside.

Inside the front doors the soaring ceiling provides an instant sense of spaciousness.

To the right is Sally's office, which could be a fourth bedroom, and to the left is a living area, with sheer curtains on the tall windows to softly filter sunlight, as well as blinds for a sense of enclosure at night.

The timber kitchen is a timeless design with a stainless steel splashback. Close by is the dining table, which is warmed by a double-sided gas fireplace.

The other side of the fireplace faces a second living room, a cosy TV snug that is one of Sally's favourite spaces in winter.

There's another living space that steps down from near the dining area. It has doors that open on to the private garden along the side of the house.

Next to it, the tiled main bathroom is almost Balinese in style, with windows next to the bath that have views of the garden.

Sally has a guest bedroom downstairs, towards the back of the house, along with a laundry and her studio, which was a garage.

She transformed it by replacing the sectional aluminium garage door with bifold doors with frosted glass.

Next to it is a secure, enclosed outdoor space which future owners may wish to use as a carport.

Back inside, the home's mezzanine upper level has a single bedroom at the front of the house and Sally's bedroom and en suite at the back.

From here, there's also access to this property's best-kept secret - a completely private roof deck with panoramic 360-degree views and a spa pool.

"It's the perfect place to relax at dusk with a glass of wine,' Sally says.

As perfect as this home has been for her, Sally is now selling so she can spend more time with her son and four young grandchildren, who live in Switzerland.