Abundant solitude, privacy and green views have brought together all of the significant features in homes that Gilbert and Tina Edgell have lived in up and down the country.
Married for 46 years, this enterprising couple have lived in apartments of all sizes, heritage homes of all styles and on land ranging from a Martinborough, Wairarapa farmlet to an Arrowtown, Otago lifestyle block.
In Auckland they've lived in Freeman's Bay and in St Mary's Bay and when they found this place they were living in an apartment and looking for a beach house to complete their lifestyle vibe.
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It's the privacy from neighbours on all sides and the south-facing views across the rooftops to Mt Eden that thrill Tina the most. For Gilbert, it's the wide back lawn and its tiered, retained mature perimeter hedges. "It really reminds me of the country. It's like looking out at fields, as if it was rural. It is fantastic."
They've lived here six years, the second longest tenure, after Arrowtown, of any of the 20 properties they've occupied.
When Tina found this restored 1910 home six years ago, it was a no-brainer that they shelve all notions of a beach house and sell their apartment to get in here. But before they had even moved in, they acquired a value-added extra they'll take with them — their introduction to and resulting friendship with the home's former owner, art collector Yvonne Sanders.
"I don't think that people have the relationship that we have through buying a house.
They're like my other brother and sister," says Yvonne, namesake of the well-known antiques dealer. When Yvonne is down in Auckland from her Matakana home, she stays here, in what was her original bedroom. Her young son has come to regard Tina as a much-loved grandmother.
Gilbert and Tina didn't miss out on their beach house either. They rented out a cottage owned by Yvonne before they bought their own place at Pakiri, where they are largely based these days.
Both homeowners have imbued their distinctive personalities into this home which was updated and extended by the developer who sold it to Yvonne. Yvonne's white glossy painted timber floors and white walls suited her art collections. She developed the garden and installed the floor-to-ceiling bookcase, something of a landmark in the Edgell's life.
"It's the first time we've had 99 per cent of our books all in the one place," says Gilbert.
Gilbert and Tina chose to keep the glossy white floor in their en suite but stripped back the floors elsewhere, primarily for easier maintenance. In the light-filled, dramatic living area, Tina opted for dark, wallpapered walls as the backdrop for their own art and textural furnishings. On the wall leading into the kitchen and within it, Tina has brought her love of fashion, fabric and colour into play with aqua-toned French wallpaper.
The front two of the three carpeted upstairs bedrooms are cushioned from street noise by shuttered windows, the tropical front garden on one side, and double-glazed windows on the other.
Downstairs, a walk-in wardrobe and ensuite means Gilbert, a former record company executive, can effortlessly switch his music room/media room/office into guest quarters.
Early on Gilbert and Tina converted the downstairs laundry into a secure, temperature and humidity-controlled 1200-bottle wine cellar. The new laundry takes up a corner of the double-plus sized carpeted garage. "The wine cellar always comes first," says Tina.
For this couple, there need be no more swaps. They're downsizing to an apartment to complete their original dream of city pad and a beach retreat.
9 MILLAIS ST, PONSONBY
• 4 bedrooms, 3 bathroom, 2 parking spaces.
• Land 480sq m, house 276sq m.
• Price: Well in excess of CV $2,525,000.
• Auction: August 8.
• Inspect: Sat/Sun 12-12.30pm.
• Schools: Richmond Rd School, Ponsonby Intermediate, Western Springs College, Auckland Girls' Grammar.
• Contact: Carla Pedersen or Robyn Ellson, Ray White Ponsonby. Carla 021 417 139 or Robyn 021 800 891, rwponsonby.co.nz