Sarah Bothamley has her colour palette all ready and waiting for her next villa-style home.
She wants soft french grey walls and white architectural accents, mid-brown timber floors and a structured garden with feminine foliage and flowers to suit.

She knows what that will feel like, and how that will suit her taste in contemporary furniture. She also knows how such a garden will enliven her family's living areas and enhance all the entertaining she loves to do with friends.

She knows this because she has surrounded herself with all of these lifestyle touches in this traditional villa with its architectural fretwork and bountiful rear private deck side garden.

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What she has no clue about yet is the shape her next project will take, only because she hasn't yet found the smaller version of this home for her list of redecoration requisites.

"I want to recreate all of this in my next house, I just need to find the house," she says.

Then again, she may have walked past her next house without realising it, just as she did here. In the 20 or so years since her shift from Wellington, Sarah lived in all sorts of homes in and around Ponsonby, Freemans Bay and on Herne Bay's southern slopes.

In 2015 she bought this house next door to the home of a friend she used to visit. Only then did she realise she had walked past it countless times when she went to yoga classes at the Ponsonby Community Centre.

She put in a pre-auction offer after the first open home, attracted by its traditional high-stud villa form with a rear modern extension that spoke volumes to her.

"We just fell in love with it. We bought it and moved in two weeks later. It was the most pretty, elegant house," Sarah says.

Better still, the house had been completely renovated and with its soft warm french grey and white decor inside and out, it needed little more than Sarah's contemporary furniture to blend the outdoors into the full width internal living area.

"It is a completely private oasis. It is very serene and I'm very much about serene. I've loved it because the living areas can open out to become one big room or they can be closed off."

Sarah's few personal touches included some new light fittings and soft drapes alongside the blinds in her bedroom. Inside, she had the dark original timber floors lightened to a mocha brown colour. Outdoors she extended one end of the rectangular deck to improve the outdoor living space, adding more plants to the structured, hedged garden.

It is her garden she will miss the most as the family prepares to say goodbye to this home while they look for a new one.

"I've enjoyed living in my houses but I don't get as attached to them the way I do with my gardens. I've loved this area of the city and I've never felt the need to live anywhere else because we've been very happy here."

Sarah, who works in IT, grew up in Wellington's historic Tinakori Rd and has been drawn to characterful historic homes ever since.

31 PONSONBY TERRACE, PONSONBY
• 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 0* parking spaces.
• Land 354sq m, house 139sq m.
• Sale price: CV $2,075,000.
• Inspect: Sat/Sun 1-1.30pm, or by appointment.
• Auction: Wed 18 July (unless sold prior).
• Schools: Ponsonby Primary, Ponsonby Intermediate, Auckland Girls Grammar and Western Springs College.
• Contact: Sherryl Jones, 021 122 3651; Jack Atherton, 021 739 655, barfoot.co.nz/759157
*1 OSP and 1 car port.