Transforming a converted house and income layout into a character-laden family home has been a restorative process for Maria Powell, in more ways than one.

The original bungalow had long been split into two residences and the original charm had been lost. Little of the character Maria prefers in a bungalow remained.

"I didn't particularly like the decor or the way it flowed or worked," she says.

"It felt like much of the character had actually been stripped out of the place."
But Maria could see the potential.


"I went searching and found all of these beautiful leadlights in demolition yards."


She wanted a challenge to pour herself into after her husband Robert passed away. The couple were experienced renovators and had built a house in Kumeu. Maria sold it after Robert's passing.

Mt Eden seemed like a natural place to return to — it was where they had mostly raised their children and is close to where the kids now live with their own families.

14 Mewburn Ave, Mt Eden, Auckland. Photo / Ted Baghurst
14 Mewburn Ave, Mt Eden, Auckland. Photo / Ted Baghurst

Maria appreciates well-zoned, quiet Mewburn Avenue's friendly neighbours and abundance of character homes. "I love how easy it is to pop into Mt Eden Village to catch up with friends."

One of the reasons for the move to Kumeu was to breed Border Terrier dogs. One, named Lizzy, is the reason Maria added driveway gates to the circa-1910 Mt Eden home and its heritage-style front fence.

She's overhauled the garden too, planting standard roses in the front and olive trees at the rear.

Exterior house accents previously picked out in brown and green are repainted grey to complement the white weatherboards.

"My aim was to turn this into one beautiful family home and I'm delighted with the end result," says Maria.

The front veranda with fretwork harbours a keypad-enabled front door opening into a wide hallway sporting new carpet. Maria had window shutters installed and replaced hollow-core doors with solid character specimens.

She stencilled a French poem on one of the master bedroom's walls and had a walk-in-wardrobe and en suite built.

The en suite is sheathed in the same Spanish tiles as used in the main bathroom, which has a clawfoot bath. There's a separate laundry off the bathroom.

14 Mewburn Ave, Mt Eden, Auckland. Photo / Ted Baghurst
14 Mewburn Ave, Mt Eden, Auckland. Photo / Ted Baghurst

Reinstating the house as one dwelling has allowed an open-plan, lounge-dining-kitchen design entered through leadlight doors featuring shamrocks sourced from a grand villa.

Maria says: "One of my favourite stores is Early Settler and I was in there so much during this project I picked up a part-time job there."

It's where she bought the granite-benched American oak kitchen she has teamed with timber-look linoleum flooring. It's also where she bought chandeliers and the lounge's fire-style heater. A master heat pump delivers further heating.

A big red and green heritage leadlight now graces the kitchen's home-office area. "I love the character features I've reinstated," says Maria.

Living flows out to a partially covered rear deck, and screens enhance the privacy of the rear grounds.

The fourth bedroom is in the sleep-out behind the single garage, which has driveway parking. There's additional storage space under the home.

As Maria charts her next step the idea of living near the water appeals, as does the idea of a new family enjoying this transformed abode.

• 3+1* bedrooms, 2 bathroom, 1** parking spaces.
• Land 554sq m, house 160sq m (inc garage-sleepout).
• Price: $2.295 million.
• Inspect: Sat/Sun 1pm-1.30pm.
• Schools: Balmoral School, MAGS, EGGS, AGGS.
• Contact: Ketiesha Elliott 021 739 686 and Frank Excell 021 392 355, Barfoot & Thompson,
*1 Bed sleep-out
**Plus 3 OSP