With only a limited view of this character-packed villa's upper level from the street, most people have no idea it's a grand two-level, five-bedroom home with dimensions to suit its 1.9m-tall owner.
He's company director Simon Young, who's lived here for 20 years, the last decade or so with wife Carley Young, who works in communications. They're parents to son Maxim, 6, and daughter Nova, 4
Carley says: "People can't believe how close we are to Ponsonby Rd but how quiet and private it is here, looking out at greenery like somewhere in Titirangi."
The 1910 villa was once owned by renowned Kiwi photographer Robin Morrison and his wife.
Simon bought here in 1999 with his previous wife and their two daughters, Galatea and Demeter.
Back then they had architect Graeme Burgess design a rear extension and enlarge the villa's lower level, which has both internal access and its own entrance.
Simon's planting choices included nikaus, which team with a ginko tree to form a leafy rear outlook unexpected so close to Ponsonby's strip.
He says: "I like to think this home has two nice axis to it nowadays — the original axis up the hallway and another at right angles to that across this open-plan rear living area."
Visitors often gravitate to a couch at the union of these two axis.
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Tole Reserve is at the no-exit end of the street. There are two entrances either side of the front hedge, the pedestrian-only one leading to the lower level, which is currently rented to a professional tenant who'd be interested in staying. The property is being sold with vacant possession.
Downstairs, which has been rented as an Airbnb in the past, can be shut off or integrated into the home.
There's an off-street parking spot by the main entrance. The red front door introduces a 310sq m home rich with period features and a stud height of 3.25m.
Pressed tin ceilings feature in the entry foyer and two big front living rooms. Native timber floors gleam upstairs and there are various leadlights plus original textured anaglypta wallpaper down the long hallway.
There are several fireplaces, too, although they're largely aesthetic seeing the home has ducted gas central heating.
Simon, who used to play for the NZ basketball team before it was called the Tall Blacks, says: "There's so much fine, character detail here."
A big front sitting room features a fireplace nook with its own pressed tin ceiling. The neighbouring big lounge opens to two westerly verandas.
This level is currently set up with three bedrooms including the master with en suite. The rear open-plan kitchen-dining room showcases antique timber pillars Simon brought back after working in Pakistan. This area opens to the north-facing return veranda.
Friends often ring to ask if the "marble bar" is open, referring to the marble-topped island in the kitchen.
Wide internal-access stairs lead downstairs, where there's a separate entrance, a lounge, two bedrooms currently used as offices plus a bathroom.
Downstairs, polished concrete floors open to a slate-paved courtyard neighbouring another outdoor area.
The couple are selling in order to choose a property together.
7 TOLE ST, PONSONBY
• 5 bedrooms, 3 bathroom, 0* parking spaces.
• House: 310sq m, land 526sq m.
• Set Date of Sale: Thur 16 May (unless sold prior).
• Inspect: Sat/Sun, noon to 12.30pm.
• Schools: Ponsonby Primary, Ponsonby Intermediate, Auckland Girls' Grammar.
• Contact: Sue Hatton, Ray White, 0272 799 696.
*Plus 1 OSP