It had nine bedrooms and seven bathrooms, a dining room like a restaurant and no lounge, but the house between Warkworth and Matakana that Greg and Penny Boakes bought for their family had exactly what they needed.

With nine children, their focus was on enough bedrooms and the potential for great living spaces — and the 1950s building fitted the bill.

Originally the clubhouse for the adjoining golf club, the house has had a few good makeovers in its time. Before Greg and Penny's ownership it belonged to a family who had it set up as a resort-type facility to accommodate up to 25 people.

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"It had a commercial Asian-style kitchen a bit like a fish-and-chip shop," Greg says.

It was in good condition but he and Penny undertook a serious renovation, creating an elegant tiled entranceway accessed via a covered portico, and adding a big lounge and adjoining family room and study nook that open through stackers to a covered outdoor entertaining area.

Alongside is a spacious dining room that probably could still double as a restaurant but is now occupied by an elegant 16-seater dining table. There's a smart grey kitchen with stainless steel appliances and an island bench that is open to the dining space. There's also a bar area in here, and a whimsical knife and fork mural on the back wall, which Greg says will stay.

Lots of windows flood the space with natural light, and the elevated ceilings and neutral palette add to the sense of space. The accent colours here are pale coffee and taupe, which also feature in some of the bedrooms and bathrooms.

With such a big area to play with — the second storey was originally occupied by a large hall and a bar — they managed to reassign spaces to get their required nine bedrooms, and gave most of them en suites.

"En suites are great when you have a big family," Greg says.

They were also able to design the space to capture views from almost every window. Ascension Wine Estate provides vineyard views on one side, and the Warkworth Golf Club on the other.

"And on a clear day you can see Little Barrier from the second floor," Greg says.


The master suite is downstairs and has a tiled en suite with twin vanities and a large, walk-in shower. There's a walk-in wardrobe plus a second dressing room/storage area. Also on this level is a laundry room, drying room, a utility room, family bathroom and ample storage.

The sympathetic extension to the house has given it a well-balanced, classic facade, and it sits comfortably towards the rear of its 1.4ha site, with a large, concreted parking area alongside the double garage Greg and Penny added.

They also re-sculpted the area in front of the house to create a flat lawn bordered by a well-planted garden. There's a bush area on one side that creates separation from neighbouring homes.

"It's a quiet, peaceful location and lovely to come home to at the end of the day," Greg says.

It was "quite an experience" turning the former clubhouse into a real home, and it has provided this family with the perfect set-up over the past seven years. But in the time they've been there, five children have married, and there's an opportunity to downsize a little. They'd like to build, so the hunt is on for the perfect section.

Beds: 9
Baths: 7
Garage: 2
SIZE (more or less): Land 1.447ha, floor area 650sq m, plus outdoor patios.
SALE: By negotiation.
INSPECT: Call to view.
SCHOOLS: Warkworth School, Mahurangi College, Matakana School.
CONTACT: Dahnie Burton, Bayleys, 021 628 327.
Photo / supplied

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