The Register family have earned the right to have their names enshrined in the early history of this neighbourhood. They've had a hand in two adjacent properties here, including this home at No19 and its street-side shop from which Mark Register's mother
Gwenda ran her Regent Antiques dealership during the 1970s.
Mark grew up here with his two older half-sisters and he remembers his maternal grandfather's home next door at No17. "He had a billiard table and he taught me how to play," says Mark. His grandfather Egbert Addis later helped his daughter Gwenda and her husband Bill Register, Mark's parents, finance the purchase of No19 in 1964.
Bert, as he was known, had the credentials to help them tidy the house up, too. A tram driver from 1922 until his retirement in 1955, just before Auckland's trams were decommissioned, he used old tramlines as the reinforcing steel in his brick home.
"After he died, the people who renovated his house went through so many diamond saws cutting up the old tramlines. Some of it couldn't be demolished," says Mark.
When the Register family moved here, the sparsely populated seaside neighbourhood comprised beach houses and farmland. "It was a very friendly time where everyone knew everyone else. Doors weren't locked and unlike now, we played outside all the time, climbing trees and running around," says Mark.
During the 60s, a local real estate agent called Bob Rogers rented the Registers' shop, happy to make time for the little boy from the white house from behind who'd always call in to say hello.
In 1972, Gwenda and Bill, who was a signwriter/printer, upgraded the house that was built the same time as the shop in 1928 and altered at least once in the intervening years.
Mark remembers the original mahogany timber floors beneath the carpet.
"I found a photo of me riding my trike one Christmas Day, on the most amazing dark floors."
His parents' renovations for modern living included putting in the balcony and new aluminium joinery, all beneath a new roof.
A year or so later, they had to build a rear retaining wall when torrential rain caused the bush to slide down into the backyard. Mark remembers contractors shifting the dirt by wheelbarrow down the adjacent right-of-way to the truck next door.
"Those retaining walls are never moving. The amount of steel that I remember them putting into the rock was amazing. Then they pumped the concrete over the house from the front with a concrete pump."
The house and the little shop with its brown brick/white plaster exterior sit companionably front and back with their matching two-tone colour schemes. Inside, the original four-bedroom house has a functional floor plan, following Gwen's decision in her later years to convert one of the three upstairs bedrooms into a second bathroom.
Following her death in 2004, Mark and his wife Adrienne bought the property from the estate and rented it out. For the past 33 years they have been based in Australia, Europe and the US.
They now live in San Francisco with Bill's senior role with the electronics signature company DocuSign. They're unlikely to return to New Zealand permanently, hence their decision to part with this significant New Zealand connection and its 54 years of memories.
"Selling it is a wrench, but it needs to be lived in by a family who will have as good a time as I had growing up in it," says Mark.
19 KOHIMARAMA RD, KOHIMARAMA
• 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 0 parking spaces.
• Land 314sq m, house 170sq m.
• Sale price: $1.5m-plus.
• Inspect: Sat/Sun 11-11.30am.
• Auction: July 31.
• Schools: Kohimarama Primary, Selwyn College.
• Contact: Lisa Nelson and Kate Shaw, Ray White, 027 444 5552 (Lisa), 021 978 608 (Kate), oneroof.co.nz