A dilapidated villa that sold for more than $1 million despite being unliveable is to be transformed into a sprawling four-bedroom home complete with a second level and glass atrium.
The house at 2 Leighton St, in Grey Lynn, Auckland, made headlines late last year when five bidders battled for it at auction - even in its poor condition.
Three young builders from Evoke Developments bought the property for $1.075m and said they wanted to save and restore the crumbling villa, which had been widely referred to as a "hovel" before it sold.
Builder and co-owner Simon Watson said the 1800s settlers' cottage would be restored and a character addition built at the rear.
"We wanted to keep the heritage look of the front house because that is what we feel Grey Lynn is all about," Watson said.
"Once you are inside it will be more modern but still sympathetic to the character of the home."
The restored villa will be connected via a glass corridor to the two-storey gable addition.
The lower level includes open-plan living with a master bedroom, walk-in wardrobe, en suite and office above.
Three bedrooms and a modern bathroom will be constructed in the existing villa with a television room and laundry in a lean-to space.
The front house and back addition will be linked by a central landscaped courtyard with a gas fire. Living areas will lead out through bi-fold doors to decking and back lawn.
The house is now being moved back on the site to make room for parking at the front.
"Carparking is at a premium in Grey Lynn so it was paramount to include double off-street carparking," Watson said.
The front yard will be landscaped to minimise the concrete driveway and will feature an electric gate and a traditional white picket fence.
The trio have started work on the cottage and hope to have the extensive renovation completed before Christmas.
The property had a 2011 valuation of $690,000, almost all of which was for its 381sq m of land.
It was valued last year at $1.03m.