There's a real art to doing a successful renovation on a classic villa and Simon Dunlop's abode on one of Herne Bay's most popular leafy streets is definitely a fine example.

The sports fan says that when he bought it in 2011, moving in on the day New Zealand won the Rugby World Cup, most of the hard work had already been done by previous owners.

But there was still plenty of room for creative input, and Simon certainly wasn't lacking in imagination.

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"A lot of what I've done is on the outside," he says. "I put on the deck with its louvre roof and installed the pool, which is gas heated."

Simon also had major input into the garden and its neatly clipped hedges, working alongside professional landscapers.

"I wouldn't say that I'm a natural-born gardener, but I did find the process enjoyable and I'm pleased with the results."

The kitchen facilities are second-to-none, and Simon has recently upgraded most of the major appliances.

The flow to outdoor living is seamless and he says that entertaining is a breeze all-year-round.

Also just off the kitchen is Simon's home office, a cosy, man-cave doing double duty as a wine cellar.

Next comes the generous 'formal' lounge, which is lovely and relaxing.

Simon says that the sisal flooring in here adds a warming touch, and a nice contrast with polished boards elsewhere.

Part of the reason the house appealed so much to him is its particularly high stud — as a keen art collector, the large expanses of wall throughout provide a most perfect gallery.

There are three double bedrooms, including the big, sunny master suite with walk-in wardrobe and well-appointed en suite, intersected by the family bathroom with its luxuriously deep bath.

The light, bright hallway is a typical villa treasure, with carefully preserved original stained glass in the period front door.

Wooden shutters have been installed on many of the windows and are nicely in keeping with the home's era.

There's an added and relatively rare advantage of an internal-access double garage.

"It's a great feature and I had it carpeted for use as a playroom, and there's still off-street parking for two cars in the driveway," says Simon.

He's noticed that despite its handy proximity to the Harbour Bridge, traffic on the street has diminished considerably since the Waterview tunnel opened, changing traffic dynamics throughout the city.

"It used to take about 45 minutes to get to the airport, but now I can do it in 25 minutes."
Weekends are often spent at nearby parks, the pools at Point Erin or at one of the many great cafes on nearby Jervois Road.

Simon has been renovating another villa nearby, and it's almost ready for him to move in.
He knows that interest in 16 Sentinel Road, where he's thoroughly enjoyed living for seven years, will be high.

"Some who've been in already are empty-nesters who still want a big house but not as big as they've had previously, and of course it's perfect for a young family too.

"Whoever buys it can simply move in and enjoy the summer here – I totally recommend it."

16 SENTINEL RD, HERNE BAY
• 3 bedrooms, 3 bathroom, 2 parking spaces.
• Land: 564sq m, House: 249sq m.
• Auction: 14 Nov.
• Inspect: Today 3-3.45pm.
• Schools: Ponsonby Primary, Ponsonby Intermediate, Western Springs College.
• Contact: Chris Batchelor, Bayleys, 021 217 7026; or Karen Spires 027 273 8220.