There's a certain appeal to the 1960s architecture of this three-level Parnell apartment building in Bridgewater Rd, says Patricia Watson.

"The building does show the hand of the architect; you can feel it has been thoughtfully designed and it has a character to it," says Patricia.

"The ceilings are higher than many contemporary buildings and I like the layout. And it was built in a period when walls were thick so sound did not travel."

Patricia owns an apartment on the second level of the L-shaped building - there are two apartments on the first two levels and one apartment, twice the size, on the top.


The concrete block and shiplap cedar weatherboard apartments were designed by Tibor Donner, the chief architect of Auckland City Council, also involved in the re-design of the Parnell Baths.

"That happened around 1955, and then this building was built in the late 60s and officially opened in the 1970s," says Patricia. "I have the architect's sketch of the apartments hanging on the wall by my entrance door."

Patricia especially likes how light and airy the apartment is.

"And I like its outlook, every single window has a beautiful view and the building can't be built out.

"My views are of the port and water; I have a clear view of the harbour. And you see cruise liners coming in, you see them going across Judges Bay."

Other windows look out to Parnell's rose gardens; the back windows in the main bedroom and the kitchen look over a neighbour's pool and bush; and the spare bedroom looks out to a pohutukawa.

The layout of Patricia's apartment has the entrance into the living area around a corner from the hallway. There is also a small library just off the hallway.

The living and dining room are open plan and then there is a semi-open wall with a window space cut out between the dining room and the kitchen, which has a U-shaped Formica bench and Bosch and Smeg appliances.

On the left side of her apartment are a separate toilet, a bathroom that incorporates the laundry in a cupboard and the second bedroom. Behind the kitchen is the main bedroom.

During her time here, Patricia has lined the concrete block bedroom walls, had the wardrobes fitted with Boston shelving, built the storage cupboard in the hallway, refitted the bathroom with new shower and vanity, painted the walls and installed new appliances in the kitchen.

For heating she has electric wall panels. "It is a warm flat because of all the sunshine it gets."

There is great storage - the bedrooms' wardrobes, the hallway cupboard and a linen cupboard.

A balcony off the living area provides wonderful harbour views, plus a spiral staircase down to the shared land where the apartment dwellers have a communal garden.

"Anyone who wants to garden is free to do so," says Patricia. "We have a close community.

There is a lemon tree and a clothes line for us to use, just as you get when you have a single freestanding dwelling."

Patricia chose to live in Parnell as she had been living in the inner city in Greys Ave, but wanted to live a little further out so she had more access to areas to go walking.

"Parnell has so many attractions. There are gardens, the Parnell Baths are just down the road, and I can walk there in three minutes.

"I go up to Rosie cafe on Gladstone Rd for a coffee. Almost all my neighbours are couples in their 40s and 50s.

"I have been very happy as a single woman in this building. I feel well nurtured and part of a community, but you still have your independence."

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