For Richelle Cooper and her brother Errol Sanders, growing up in the big blue house opposite Kohimarama Primary School was the best. They were the envy of other kids because they could "nip home across the road for lunch and later on, jump on our bikes and be at Selwyn College in under 10 minutes", says Richelle.

Their dad Brian Sanders started the Ponderosa dairy and tea rooms in Kohimarama and when he sold it in the 1960s, he and his wife Joan spent the money on "their lovely big dream home".

That's when Brian began a new window-cleaning business. And in the late 1970s he employed Richelle's future husband, who later took over the business with Errol.

Like Kohi school and many homes in this area, theirs was built in the 1930s. Except, back then it was a maternity home, which explains the extra-wide entry and the porte cochere in the drive-through.


It was the waiting room for pregnant mothers. Over the years, several people have dropped by to say they knew somebody who had been born here, including a friend of Max Cryer who told them Max was one such baby.

109 Kohimarama Rd, Kohimarama, Auckland. Photo / Ted Baghurst
109 Kohimarama Rd, Kohimarama, Auckland. Photo / Ted Baghurst

Brian passed away in 2007 but Joan lived on until recently and insisted they were not to change a thing. She loved the house, which served to preserve so many precious memories.

Errol and Richelle have dutifully maintained it with its striking 1960s wallpapers, a different one in almost every room, set off by the slightly threadbare brown Axminster carpet.

Particularly special is the whimsical Birds of Paradise wallpaper that seems to hold special significance in the entry.

As she wanders past the frosted glass sailing ship window in the hall, through to the music room, now stuffed with Errol's four pianos, numerous speakers and audio technical equipment, Richelle says there was always music in this household.

Joan used to sing with the Auckland Operatic Society and they would sit on a large sofa and listen, enthralled.

109 Kohimarama Rd, Kohimarama, Auckland. Photo / Ted Baghurst
109 Kohimarama Rd, Kohimarama, Auckland. Photo / Ted Baghurst

Although the family room next door is spacious, it was even bigger before Brian decided to block off part of the house to create a two-bedroom flat he could rent out.

The original tongue and groove kitchen became part of the flat on other side. So another was built with acres of baby pink benchtop and a vibrant orange splashback. "Mum was a shorty," says Richelle. "She could never reach those cupboards above.

"Dad built the double garage to the rear with a man cave and a loo. And we always had a lovely vege garden full of beans, tomatoes, courgettes and amazing fruit."

It's been over 50 years in the one family now, but Richelle and Errol say it's time for a new family to come and revamp their old home.

• 5 bedrooms, 2 bathroom, 2* parking spaces.
• House 216sq m, land 822sq m.
• Auction: 2pm April 10, Gaunt St, Auckland City.
• Inspect: Sat/Sun 1.45-2.30pm.
• Schools: Kohimarama School and Selwyn College.
• Contact: Murray Wallace, Bayleys, 021 196 3000.
*4 OSP