There have been multiple "well, didn't that work out well" moments since Peter Tait bought this villa, despite folk grimacing over Ponsonby's dodginess 40-plus years ago when he bought here with a mate.

Peter says: "Our parents thought we had gone nuts, saying 'Oh Ponsonby'.

"One friend said, 'Oh well, I suppose it's a roof over your head'.

"And the solicitor we'd got a mortgage through said, 'I'm glad my clients can't see where their money's invested'."



Nowadays Peter reflects on how splendidly things worked out, sitting in his lovely square-front villa just off Jervois Rd, handy to the Harbour Bridge and CBD. "But in 1975 Ponsonby was considered a slum area with untidy homes, no fences, dead cars and fighting in the streets."

However, Ponsonby was what avid sailor Peter and friend Nikki Barrett, whose family he knew from sailing, could afford.

After OEs in the UK they devised a shared ownership-with-flatmates set up. Peter says: "We were just friends and the banks back then considered it unorthodox and wouldn't give us a mortgage — they said you had to be married.

"So we got a solicitor's mortgage in a time of high inflation at over 20 per cent interest.

"But I do recommend this sharing to young folk today as a way to acquire property."

The villa's previous owner, an architect, had done new foundations and gibbing. Peter had renovation skills thanks to construction industry experience and learning boatbuilding in his teens.

Six years into their shared ownership Peter happily bought Nikki out, knowing Ponsonby was humming with renovation and he'd up flatmate numbers.

(Years later, in a development that delighted friends, he and by-then-single former co-owner Nikki started a romance that endures to this day.)

White wisteria and a climbing rose adorn the re-roofed villa's full front veranda with leadlight front door. The rose stretches along a single side carport fronted by a second off-street parking space. The recently repainted interior highlights features such as exposed wood sash windows and kauri floors, these days proudly ducted with an under-floor gas heating system.

"In 2006 in my bachelor days the timer went on the electric stove so I thought I'd buy a cheap timer. But then I thought 'maybe I should get a gas stove', which became 'maybe I should get gas hot water heating', which became 'maybe I should also use the gas for central heating'. "So the couple of dollars for a timer became about $11,000 for gas everything."

For flatting purposes Peter designated a front second living room off the central hall, which has french doors opening to the lounge behind, as a fourth bedroom.

For a period he used the middle of three left-hand bedrooms as his home office.

The rear bedroom has french doors to the rear deck he extended. He chose kauri for built-in cabinetry in the main lounge with brick fireplace and used it again for cabinetry and bench tops in the rear kitchen-dining which has new appliances, laundry space and french doors outside.

The renovated bathroom features a claw-foot bath. There's a pull-down loft ladder outside in the hallway ceiling.

The sunny rear garden with lawn harbours edibles including grapes and fig.
Peter's finally farewelling Number 40 now he and Nikki share a 1925 kauri villa in Russell, with a boat moored in the bay.

• 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 1* parking spaces.
• Land 409sq m, house 97sq m.
• Auction: 1.30pm Wed 7 Nov, 34 Shortland Street, City (unless sold prior).
• Inspect: Sat/Sun, noon to 12.30pm.
• Schools: Ponsonby Primary, Ponsonby Intermediate, Western Springs College, Auckland Girls' Grammar.
• Contact: Matt O'Rourke, 021 375 909 and Ryan Harding 021 621 580, Barfoot & Thompson,