Paul Kirwan doesn't do average. He's been in the property development business for more than 20 years, working on everything from subdivisions and standalone housing through to industrial and retail projects in Auckland, Hamilton, New Plymouth and Napier. And he never settles for "good enough".

"We're always looking for the best possible outcome and trying to raise the bar," says Paul, who is the principal of Austin Management Ltd.

His latest project, an apartment building called The Vanguard in Great South Rd, Epsom, is lifting that bar even higher, and will, Paul hopes become the stand-out property in the area.

"We want to set the standard for redevelopment in Great South Rd," says Paul. "There aren't any stand-out residential developments on the street and we want people to see what can be done."

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To that end, he commissioned Gel Architects to come up with a stunning design for the five-level building. Not only are they elegant and modern inside, but they have been carefully thought out to have the wow factor from the outside. The side facing the road combines dark metal, concrete and timber in a facade that contrasts with striking white aluminium screens.

On the west side, the balconies form a zigzag pattern, which turns them towards the north while providing privacy from neighbours. On the eastern side, a walkway is lined with plants, creating a wall of greenery.

What people may not realise is that many of these features pay tribute to The Vanguard's location and the area's history.

For example, the large panel screen above the entrance is an abstract representation of the totara posts set out at one mile intervals along Great South Rd during its construction in 1863.

The green wall on the building's eastern side represents the green natural beauty found further along the Great South Rd, towards more rural areas, while the western city side reflects the dynamic urban environment of the city.

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"The architects have done a great job," says Paul.

The 34 apartments are spread over five levels, ranging from studios through to three-bedroom apartments. They are all built to high specifications, as per Paul's instructions.

The interiors were designed by Auckland and Tauranga-based design group Yellowfox.

The designers paid careful attention to making the most of the views and natural light in their quest to create stylish and sophisticated homes.

The living areas have floor-to-ceiling glass doors opening to balconies, which can also be accessed by the master bedrooms in the two- and three-bedroom apartments.

Depending on which side of the building they're on, upper level apartments have views towards Mt Eden, Rangitoto or the Sky Tower. Frameless glass balustrades mean views aren't obstructed.

Most apartments have full-sized kitchens that come with a choice or light or dark cabinets with timber accents, engineered stone benchtops and Smeg and Miele appliances. There's a heat pump in the main living zones, which have timber floors.

The bathrooms have underfloor heating and tiled walk-in showers, along with wall-hung vanities, and two- and three-bedroom apartments have en suites in the master bedrooms.

The list of "must-haves" included ample storage, good flow between rooms and a sense of space.

As well as getting a top quality home to live in, Paul thinks buyers will appreciate The Vanguard's location in the heart of this sought-after suburb. It's just a short walk to the shops at Newmarket, currently undergoing extensive redevelopment, and also within easy reach of green spaces like Mt Hobson Domain. As well as being close to public transport, it is a short drive to the motorway.

Completion is scheduled for the end of 2019/beginning 2020.

The Vanguard
• The Vanguard apartments at 64 Great South Rd, Epsom, feature 34 studio, one, two and three bedroom apartments in a new boutique development. Within walking distance of Newmarket, handy to public transport and motorway access, and double grammar zone.
• 1-3 bedrooms, 1-2 bathrooms, 0* parking spaces.
• Options: 1) 1-bed, 1-bth apartments from 48.4sq m (including balcony) starting from $745,000.
2) 2-bed, 2-bth apartments from 117sq m (including balcony) starting from $1,050,000.
3) 3-bed, 2-bth apartments from 98sq m (including balcony) starting from $1,125,000.
• Inspect: Show suite on site at 64 Great South Rd, Epsom, open Wed/Thurs 1-2.30pm and Sat/Sun 1-3pm.
• Schools: Newmarket School, Remuera Intermediate, Auckland Normal Intermediate, Auckland Grammar, Epsom Girls' Grammar.
• Contact: Libby Greenwood and Hayley Sok, Bayleys, 021 937 470 (Libby), 021 132 8985 (Hayley), vanguardapartments.co.nz/
*Carparks available from $65,000.