When it comes to effective use of a smallish space, Jenni Ryan and Robin Chang's Grey Lynn six-year-old rebuild of a 1920s house is nothing short of remarkable.

The couple had been looking in Grey Lynn for a while but, because a double garage was a must-have, many possibilities were ruled out before they finally found their Sussex St do-up.

"When we bought this property it was absolutely dilapidated," says Jenni.

"It was a standing joke that the kitchen was split-level because, when you stood at the oven, one foot was lower than the other.


"Robin and I were prepared to do all the hard work, though, because there was just so much scope."

Before rolling up their sleeves, the couple called in Jones Architects, which came up with a clever plan, more than doubling the existing footprint of the house.

"We were really lucky to be able to build out at the back and also go downstairs," says Jenni. "This was going to be our forever house and we wanted it to be perfect so we didn't hold back anywhere.

"We did everything to the highest possible spec and I think it shows."

The renovated house has a spacious, airy entrance hall, which is a perfect gallery for art works and family photographs.

The master bedroom has views to the Sky Tower and beyond, and a smart bathroom and walk-in wardrobe with copious storage. Pull-down stairs reach the attic - a perfect place for keeping out-of-season clothes and outgrown toys.

The bedroom shared by three-year-old Nate and his sister, Lola, 10 months, also has a huge wardrobe.

"Robin's a collector so he needs that space," says Jenni.

There's a pleasant, sunny guest bedroom and a modern luxury family bathroom.

The main living area is huge and light, with doors opening to the extensive deck.

Although she admits she's not a keen cook, Jenni still went for a state-of-the-art Fyfe Kitchen with white lacquered fronts and Corian benches.

The appliances are Miele, the dishwasher and waste disposal are silent and every piece of kitchenware can be hidden in the huge cupboards.

"I tend to use the scullery for most day-to-day chores," she says.

Beyond the kitchen lies the dining room/lounge with huge windows and built-in shelving.

Despite the fact the house is now 314sq m there's still plenty of garden space for the children to play in, and there's Tiger Turf, which looks good all year with no need for mowing.

Downstairs is Jenni and Robin's double garage and workshop - something they appreciate every day, with parking in Grey Lynn at a premium.

There are two further bedrooms, built for Robin's two older daughters, a third bathroom, separate laundry, wine cellar, and the possibility of pushing out further still to create a media room.

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