Andrew Michael had always been a fan of mid-century architecture and he couldn't believe his luck when he came to an open home in Ōrākei, just around the corner from prestigious Paritai Drive, and found an almost totally original concrete-block property on a quiet street.

It's the middle of three townhouses designed by Group Architects in the mid-1960s. "And I think it's the best one," he says.

Group Architects, founded in the late 1940s, is one of New Zealand's best known architectural practices. According to their manifesto, written at the time, they aimed to build homes for local conditions and for peace and comfort.

Knowing that he was going to be its respectful guardian, Andrew went about making changes very carefully.


"It had been rented out for the previous twenty years so there was definitely some work to be done," he says.

"I replaced the carpet and chose the colour and quality very carefully to be sure that it would fit in well, and I've added simple white blinds.

"I've also replaced the guttering, had all the windows fixed, and I recently got the underfloor heating going again so the new owners will be warm in winter."

One of his favourite aspects of the house is the timberwork. He thinks it's rimu but isn't quite sure.

"It's especially amazing in the kitchen, which I've left alone completely because you wouldn't often find such fine attention to detail in many other homes.

"I did consider sanding the woodwork back and re-staining it but to me that just seemed wrong."

The two bedrooms are smallish but there's lots of storage space and the bathroom is also original, but Andrew feels it's likely that the next owner might want to replace it and he hopes it will remain in keeping with the rest of the house.

The living area has great views and is light, bright and sunny with stylish built-in furniture. Andrew is a voracious reader and he says that the sight of all the shelving made him really excited.

Outside, is a completely private garden with tall hedges and a paved patio. It's perfect for outdoor living and at night the area is lit by garden lights, adding atmosphere.

1b Rewiti St, Orakei, Auckland. Photo / Ted Baghurst
1b Rewiti St, Orakei, Auckland. Photo / Ted Baghurst

Andrew says he always feels as if he's in Palm Springs when he's here at home during summer, so he's planted a number of palms.

He says he has enjoyed living in Ōrākei, where he's able to wander down to Mission Bay and St Heliers for coffee or a meal or head for Ōrākei Bay Village in the opposite direction, where he buys most of his food at Farro Fresh. "They're all so nice there and they know me by name."

He says that getting to and from the city is quick and easy, along Tāmaki Drive, with wonderful harbour views.

Having loved and honoured this special home, Andrew is about to pursue a new opportunity and he feels confident that new owners will realise that this is a property worth preserving.

"It's not too big and it's not too small. It's easy to live in and although it is now 50 or so years old it still feels very modern, in a sense," he says.

"It has character without having clutter and very clean and satisfying lines.

"If you wanted to, you could renovate it while being true to its history, but I've loved it just as it is."

• 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 2 parking spaces.
• Home: 75sq m, land: 162sq m.
• Auction: Wed 17 April, unless sold prior.
• Inspect: Sat/Sun 1-1.30pm, or by appointment.
• Schools: Orakei School, Selwyn College.
• Contact: Elaine Ferguson, Ray White, 027 534 5024.