Thinking about moving from Auckland to somewhere with more affordable homes? Stop talking about it and do it, says Imogen Worsp, who now lives near Warkworth.

A little over year ago, Imogen was living in Ponsonby. Her husband Will was in Raglan, where his furniture business was based.

"We were trying to work out how we could relocate, as we loved the area up here and we had been looking for some time," she says.

Ideally they wanted a property with a home and another building that would serve either as showroom or workshop for Will's business. But compromises had to be made when that combo eluded them.


They found this villa and its semi-attached studio, just two minutes out of Warkworth, in October 2017, and took possession in December.

"We had married in March 2017 and knew we were going to try for a family. So we were looking for somewhere that we could bring up kids."

They now have six-month-old boy Baxter, plus a dog, a German short-haired pointer, Winnie.

137 Sandspit Rd, Warkworth. Photo / Supplied
137 Sandspit Rd, Warkworth. Photo / Supplied

"What we loved about this place was the grounds and the lovely outlook," says Imogen.

"We had three acres of land and we had animals, four sheep, six chickens."

She says the wooden villa with its green corrugated iron roof, high stud ceilings, matai flooring and decorative cornices "has the most beautiful stained glass windows and lots of character". It had been relocated from Remuera about 20 years ago.

The couple made cosmetic changes to achieve a more contemporary look without compromising the villa's character. Clear roofing panels above the veranda bring in more light.

They carpeted and painted the bedrooms in soft tones to make it cosier during the winter.

Will insulated the house. Outside, he tidied up the paddocks and built a vege garden. A tree-lined driveway curves up from the road to a double garage.

137 Sandspit Rd, Warkworth. Photo / Supplied
137 Sandspit Rd, Warkworth. Photo / Supplied

The villa has bedrooms and a bathroom at the front. Double french doors open to the living area and kitchen that looks over the in-ground pool.

A second bathroom is on the other side of the kitchen by the laundry. "Having the extra shower is great if you have a house full of guests, or for when you come in from the pool," says Imogen.

A conservatory the couple use as an office opens to the deck. "The home is beautifully positioned to catch the sun," she says.

"When I have friends with kids we will spend a lot of time by the pool and then we migrate to the front. It is great to have those two places for entertaining."

Below the home is a pond with a bridge shaded by a weeping willow Imogen says the semi-attached studio helps to pay the mortgage.

137 Sandspit Rd, Warkworth. Photo / Supplied
137 Sandspit Rd, Warkworth. Photo / Supplied

"Renting out the studio on Airbnb during summer is a good way to make some extra income; or for family staying. This has separate access, a double bedroom with en suite and a courtyard."

She thinks the property will appeal to people "who want to move out of Auckland but still not be too far away".

Imogen says: "You wouldn't get a home with land for this price in Auckland. You just have to make the move rather than talk about it."

They didn't expect to move from here so soon, but Will chanced on a home nearby for sale that had an old cowshed on the property.

"We thought we could convert the cowshed into a showroom and build a workshop alongside it and that would be great for the business and visibility," says Imogen.

• 3+1 bedrooms, 2+1 bathroom, 2 parking spaces.
• Land 9998sq m, house 140sq m.
• Price: By negotiation.
• Inspect: By appointment.
• Schools: Warkworth School and Mahurangi College.
• Contact: Shailenne Parkes, Bayleys, 021 117 9142; Dianna Coman, 021 790 307.