Nicki Kingsley is a very patient woman. She persisted for 20 years to persuade her husband Ian Morrison to move from Epsom across to Devonport, finally getting her wish five years ago.

"I've been trying to move here all this time, I wanted to be by the beach, and for the lifestyle," she says. "The children were 9 and 10 then. This house was so meticulously done, it was such a grand scale and all the detail was there."

The turn-of-the-century villa certainly looks like one of the grand ladies of Devonport, with it's wrap around veranda, ornate fretwork, arched windows and charming bay window, but at some stage in the middle of last century it had been a rest home.

The huge bedrooms, with their ornate 4-metre-high plaster ceilings had been carved into small rooms with bathrooms, odd corridors and a mess of pastels. Nicki and Ian learned that earlier owners had carefully restored the house to its former glory.


Apparently their builder was a perfectionist, sourcing art nouveau-style fretwork for the front verandah and posts, matching the unusual arched framing around the front door with a pair of arched french doors in the master bedroom and bringing back the original architraves, fireplace surrounds and arch in the hallway.

The resulting arrangement of the restored house has come in handy for the family, who host relatives from Britain for long stretches of time.

As well as three double bedrooms, family bathroom and ensuite, plus all the living areas, there is also room for a further self-contained bedroom suite with a pretty bay window overlooking the garden on the ground floor.

It has a kitchenette and its own bathroom and entrance, so can be closed off for guests. And then downstairs is an entire flat — this time with a full kitchenette, sitting area and two bedrooms, one single and one double.

While it has done duty for family and friends, it too could have potential to become an income stream, consents permitting. There's a roomy double garage, another bathroom attached to the laundry and tons of under-house storage.

From the front entrance, with its gracious wide veranda and paved paths, the house hides a great secret: panoramic views over to the city from the back of house.

Its situation close to the high end corner of Victoria and Calliope roads means the property is at a surprisingly high elevation above the village.

The entire back of the house — kitchen, family and dining room and the back verandahs — all have grandstand views across to the harbour, the ferry terminal and the city beyond. Bifold windows and doors mean the house can be entirely opened out to the summer breezes for gorgeous outdoor living.

The lawn below had been earmarked for a swimming pool, but Nicki has won her second campaign — to move closer to the beach — so the family of keen paddle-boarders is moving a few blocks over to a seaside property.

Because of all the careful work of previous owners, Nicki says that she needed only to play with decorating.

With the help of her father's wife, interior designer Donna White, she brightened up a palette of dark woods, browns and yellows to a more modern scheme: dusky blue greys in the bedrooms, loads of fresh white paint to highlight the terrific ceiling and architrave trims.

Wood floors stayed and the carpets and beautiful linen drapes in the family room were retained; a neutral background to striking soft furnishings and art by Nicki's friends.

A second sitting room is a winter favourite, with a traditional mantle over the gas fireplace and a cosy window seat in the deep square bay window.

They didn't need to touch the generous country-style kitchen, with its panelled joinery and polished granite counter tops. The island bar is ideal for congregating for pre-dinner drinks, breakfast or homework.

"It's great being able to walk into the village, the kids can get everywhere so easily. There are so many options in this house for a family," says Nicki.

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