Six years ago Wayne Dyer and Shirley Thompson were searching for a large home to accommodate their family of five plus visiting relatives.

This two-storey villa on the corner of Vauxhall Rd and Sinclair St fitted the bill, especially as the couple have a love of character homes.

"We had three biggish kids when we moved here so we needed a lot of space," says Shirley.

And the guest room with en suite over the garage was perfect for Shirley's parents.
"Shirley's parents used to come out from England every year and stay for six to eight weeks," says Wayne.


But with the kids leaving or having left home and Shirley's parents no longer making their annual pilgrimage, it's time to downsize.

The couple will find it hard to replace the character home, which enjoys an enviable location close to cafes and the beach.

When they bought it, the 1910 home had been renovated and the section landscaped.
"One of the other reasons we bought it, was that it was all done up and done really well," says Shirley. "A landscape designer owned the house before us and he did all the gardens."

Mature trees such as a magnolia and an oak, as well as some thriving nikau, provide privacy from the street.

The main entrance, off Sinclair St, brings you into a glazed foyer, with skylights, that also acts as a breezeway. Off one side of this foyer is the laundry and garage with bedroom and bathroom above it, and this sympathetic addition shelters a west-facing patio that the couple use as a barbecue area.

Moving east from the foyer takes you into the main living area, with open plan kitchen and lounge.

Here, the home's character features are on display: kauri floors, sash windows, french doors, and a high stud with board and batten ceilings.

Wooden cabinetry in the kitchen complements the kauri floors, while stainless steel benches give it a more modern feel. Bifold windows over one of the benches open out to the barbecue area.

Next door is another lounge with working fireplace - and this space opens outdoors to a wraparound veranda as does another lounge on the corner of the house, that faces both Vauxhall Rd and Sinclair St. This room has a gas fire to back up the home's gas central heating.

"All these rooms face north so the sun moves around them all day," says Wayne. "And because the house sits above the street, that gives you privacy."

He adds: "We are only a couple of minutes' walk from the beach here and you can tell it's high tide when you see people wandering past with their togs and towels."

Under the stairs on the southern wall of the house are a guest toilet and a "Harry Potter" storage cupboard.

At the top of the stairs - past a study nook - is the main bathroom, which sits back to back with the en suite to the master bedroom, which also has a walk-in wardrobe.

On this level, all three bedrooms open out to a veranda that wraps around the northern and eastern faces of the weatherboard home.

"You're right in the tree tops here," says Wayne.

Quirky features abound with one of the bedrooms having a cute built-in seat and the
bedrooms feature stable door-style french doors.

Shirley says they've enjoyed collecting and displaying books and artworks in their home, particularly paintings by local artist Rob Tucker. He has another exhibition coming up soon that the couple are going to have to resist if they want to make moving a bit easier.

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