Braeburn House is a building that's seen a lot of New Zealand according to its owners.
"I think half of Whanganui's been through it, knows the building or knows somebody that's lived here. And, of course, half the country stayed here and know all about it," said Brad L'Huillier.
There is much speculation as to how much Braeburn House will sell for and who will buy it. The riverside manse sits proudly overlooking Whanganui and the river, with nothing else in the wider area to compare it to. The building, originally built as a private hotel, is unique in its size and situation.
Twins Brad and Mel L'Huillier bought it in 1987 when they were in their late 20s.
"It was fully tenanted," said Brad. "But it was like most of the town in those days - nobody really appreciated the heritage buildings. And you had to have an eye on what you wanted to do with it. For us it was to restore it back to what it was originally - the open verandahs and have a community of people who just wanted to be here and loved it."
The pair spent the first five years restoring it back to its original glory after various modifications. Some of the grand building's windows had been boarded up and balconies enclosed.
"It got taken over during the war years as a tactical school for officers, and that is when they closed in these wooden verandahs to make more bedrooms," Brad said.
"I'm not sure how long they were in here but after that I think it became a bed-and-breakfast. A lady called Ester ran it for quite a few years and then it wasn't until the 60s when John Johnston, a retired school inspector, bought it as a retirement hobby and turned it into units."
Brad would like to know more about the building's early history but thinks it's unlikely as it was commissioned more than a century ago by an unusual bunch of entrepreneurs.
"A syndicate of journalists from the Chronicle office apparently," said Brad. "Someone must've had a bright idea and they must've obviously needed a private hotel in Whanganui. And this would've been the newest one because when you look at the photos you can see the tall ships tied up outside on the river here.
"And it was a booming town. That was the only way to get to the central North Island, you had to go up the Whanganui River."
With the major work done, the twins are putting the finishing touches on the building. Unlike some older buildings, it meets modern standards for earthquake and fire.
"It was built as a fireproof building, which is an amazing thing," he said. "In those days, because a lot of the old wooden hotels, they had a problem with a lot of people smoking and fire was a major hazard. It's all little compartments and the ceilings are fireproof."
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