Adrienne Duarte left her role as BNZ's chief financial officer — and this extremely private home — last year for a new position in Melbourne with her husband David Richards, a retired banker.

Adrienne describes their architecturally striking 1970s home, which has been reinvigorated with a tropical plantation-style garden, as "a sanctuary behind the gates".

"Cheverton Place is a property we wouldn't have sold had we not been leaving the country," she says. "It's hard to describe how special its ambience is with its resort feeling, distinctive architecture and the gardens that our visitors were just blown away by."

Moving to Auckland in 2012 for Adrienne's BNZ role, the couple wanted somewhere spacious enough for David's hobbies and their dogs.


His sports car collection was well-housed, given this home's covered parking in a triple garage and a double carport.

The expansive grounds with majestic palm trees set well back from a no-exit road satisfied Siberian huskies Jessie and Luki's need for space. The couple had further landscaping done by Babylon Gardens.

"The architecture is pretty special, too," says Adrienne of elements such as the impressive upper cathedral ceilings and the double-brick construction with concrete between.

The couple saw past the previous brown and yellow exterior to the potential of the home previously owned by prominent Bays families. It now displays soothing, natural tones throughout.

Revised introductory landscaping ensures grounds have a consistent "wow" factor. The front of the striking shuttered home opens wide to a big heated pool, a water feature and a poolside cabana they used as their gym.

They overhauled an additional lounge near feature front doors, finishing it with sumptuous grey-blue shag-pile carpet and a marble fireplace surround.

The main open-plan living, with light-hued wood-finish floors, is flanked by glass on both sides until big, shuttered doors are opened wide to the pool area. Rear windows and doors highlight a rear deck, lawn and native gardens they developed down the incline beyond.

"A number of people who came to visit said, 'You own a national park'," Adrienne says.

Their landscapers created zig-zagging walkways with seating, planting additional natives to complement magnificent existing cabbage trees and silver ferns.

She says it was perfect for entertaining, recalling functions including drinks for around 60 on the back lawn or dining along long tables inside or poolside, using the kitchen's impressive double oven. A study, laundry and separate toilet complete the ground floor.

Upstairs, cathedral ceilings soar above three big bedrooms, including the master with en suite and walk-in wardrobe, plus a bathroom. Adrienne loved looking down from their bedroom on to the cabbage trees, their flowers like radiating fireworks.

After a demanding working day, she'd wander down the rear paths to sit on one of the seats there, gin and tonic in hand, listening only to birdlife.

Downstairs opens up magnificently to the rear grounds — so, when friends stayed, they vied for the downstairs bedroom with en suite and walk-in wardrobe.

David had more of a man suite than a man cave. As well as the lower-level triple garage that housed his sports cars, there's a workshop and a multipurpose tiled room with outdoor flow, as large as the open-plan living on the next level. New owners might use it as a media room or gym.

While Jessie and Luki now take their daily walks in Melbourne, their legacy to the St Heliers property is the deep-footed fencing their owners had installed to prevent any escape attempts.

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