In the international world of luxury apartments, it is not uncommon for clients to completely re-imagine their homes in the sky, combining apartments by knocking through walls, redesigning kitchens and bathrooms.
Bayleys agent Joe Telford's clients, an American couple with homes around the world, went one step further when they bought two apartments off the plan in Remuera's 10 St Marks development, back in 2016.
"One of the two penthouses in the Mac block had already been sold, so my clients bought the north-facing penthouse and the apartment below," he says. "Their brief to the Peddle Thorpe team, who designed the whole programme, was to create luxury living and a guest suite on the upper floor, with private family bedrooms on the floor below."
The couple didn't stop there. The penthouse already had a deep balcony (there are 50sq m of outdoor space), so they added an outdoor fireplace on the western wall so that they could spend cooler evenings outdoors admiring the sun setting behind the Sky Tower.
The views are spectacular, from the green bulk of Mt Hobson to the east, across the water to Rangitoto, the Coromandel Ranges and Great Barrier, with the museum and city to the west. And churches, lots of churches in this leafiest of leafy suburbs.
Greenery was top of mind for the developer, Auckland surgeon John Harman. The two residential blocks share a generous entry garden, with the Mac having one of the city's biggest green walls — more than 5000 plants in three cascading towers.
Created by Natural Habitats, the 330sq m of walls are already mature, and the swathes of plants will change colour with the seasons. They are designed to help cool the building, feed local birds and clean the air, already winning a New Zealand Green Building Council Innovation Award.
Inside the apartment, the architects rearranged the upper floorplan to create a luxury kitchen and a sequence of entertaining rooms. They knocked through an elegant wide staircase to connect the two levels, upgrading flooring to a bleached, textured wide oak plank.
The kitchen was central to the upgrade for the owners, who added a butler's pantry, with its own entrance off the lift lobby so caterers can discreetly come and go for big parties.
American-style Shaker cabinets and handles, marble benchtops and splashbacks introduce a traditional twist to the modern setting. The centrepiece is a stunning French La Cornue cooker, its splendid copper finishes and hoods repeated in the brushed copper wrapping the island, brushed brass taps and fittings — alone worth some $100,000.
The owners, who had planned to live in Auckland with their family spared no expense. But family circumstances have changed and they are returning to America to live, so their masterful redesign, brand new, is back on the market.
Moving all but one of the bedrooms downstairs meant that most of the upper floor is for living and entertaining.
There is a formal living room beside the fireplace, a second seating area in the north east corner, and a third media room on the back corner. This has hidden soundproof walls that can be slid across (think fancy ballroom dividers) to make the space completely quiet — great when kids are being entertained while adults eat in the dining room next door.
The dining room ceiling has been reinforced to take a large-scale chandelier or feature light fixture, as has the ceiling over the stairwell, but the rest of the floor is crisp LED lighting.
The owners kept the luxury tile and custom oak vanities specified by the architects in the roomy guest and family bathrooms, complete with brushed brass taps and shower heads and a luxury egg tub.
Two of the three family bedrooms on the lower level are pretty much as planned for the apartment, but the owners had the joy of spreading their master suite into what would have been the living room and kitchen.
In one corner, the architects sliced in a charming covered balcony/green house so that bedroom and bathroom doors can be completely slid away to open to the outdoors in the summer, a cool retreat from the world.
The couple replaced the bathtub with more vintage touches — an old-school slipper tub and brass fixtures, as well as a huge walk-in shower and custom double vanities. The rich stone tile runs floor to ceiling, creating a hotel spa environment.
There is room on this floor for a full laundry room, with storage more usually found in a spreading Remuera mansion. There is more storage in the basement garage in colourful lockers arranged beside the four carparks.
The two residential buildings will be joined by a third tower. Called The Blade, it will form a barrier between the homes and the motorway and house surgical suites and offices, with lively cafes at street level.
"The M3 is an exquisite apartment complex and with fine dining, a cafe and concierge service it really is the international style of luxury living," says Telford. "My clients have put their hearts into creating modern family accommodation, there really is nothing like this anywhere else in the city."
PENTHOUSE 601, 10 ST MARKS
• 4 bedrooms, 3 bathroom, 4 parking spaces.
• (more or less): Apartment 328sq m, plus 54sq m deck.
• Auction: 5 Dec.
• Schools: Double grammar.
• Contact: Joe Telford, Bayleys, 021 191 7769.