Mary-Anne Benson-Cooper has spent the last six months slowly doing up a century-old Devonport villa with the aim of moving in.

Weekends and weeknights have been spent ripping off old wallpaper and scrim to reveal hearty Kauri walls.

The Ewen Alison Ave house is virtually off the grid, so she's had to borrow power and water off her neighbours as she's worked into darkness.

The Edwardian-style villa, built in 1910, has been in her family since her father bought it in 1963.

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Benson-Cooper eventually bought the house, which has a CV of $1.425m, off the family and had always planned to move in.

The original fireplace is in the house, surrounded by the Kauri walls. Photo / Ray White
The original fireplace is in the house, surrounded by the Kauri walls. Photo / Ray White

A change in circumstances has seen her prefer to move to Milford and reluctantly put the family heirloom up for sale.

So there's plenty of work to be done.

"Doing it up I had great aspirations for it and I think the person who gets it is going to be lucky because it's never going to happen again.

"It's been untouched, people haven't done any alterations for all that time so if you look at the photos, it's like a cabin log. It's original, nothing has been touched.

"It did have some scrim and wallpaper and I took that off to see if the wood is still good and it is."

The bathroom is fairly basic, with just a basin. However, the house isn't currently connected to a water supply.
The bathroom is fairly basic, with just a basin. However, the house isn't currently connected to a water supply.
The 118-year-old villa on Ewen Alison Ave, Devonport, is currently up for sale.
The 118-year-old villa on Ewen Alison Ave, Devonport, is currently up for sale.

However, she wasn't prepared to sell it to just anybody and had a figure in mind of what she wanted for it.

"It's been in the family for all those years ... I brought it off the family and was going to live there. I have a great attachment to the house ... I've always loved it, it's got a great spirit.

"If I don't get what I want for it I'll go back to the drawing board."

Not only was it unique for being in its original state, it was one of only three on the street with both front and rear access.

Putting it on the market wasn't an easy move and was why she was prepared to wait for the right price and the right buyer.

"As I watched it come back to life again it has been a little play house. It's been a work in progress but it's been enjoyable, I've had music going when I've been doing it.

"The neighbours have been wonderful, they've lent me electricity and water because there is none there.

"I know that it will never come again, with a frontage and a back, like it is. There's only two others on that street that have that."

She hopes that a family with a love for doing up old villas would pick it up, but was realistic about the home being pulled down, and she had a bigger love of the land.

"It's actually the site that's the big thing. If it was me, I wouldn't [knock the house down]. I just want it to be passed on to someone that will love the land. I want the land to be used, that a family live there and bring it back to life."

Ray White real estate agent Lucia Pereira said the house had already been receiving a lot of interest from not only neighbours and locals.

The house sits in between Ewen Alison Ave and Patuone Place. Mount Victoria is in the background
The house sits in between Ewen Alison Ave and Patuone Place. Mount Victoria is in the background
One of the rooms that Mary-Anne Benson-Cooper hasn't touched which has the 'scrim' still adorning the walls. Photo / Ray White
One of the rooms that Mary-Anne Benson-Cooper hasn't touched which has the 'scrim' still adorning the walls. Photo / Ray White

"There can't be many of [these villas] left anymore, they're quite rare.

"It's got two double entrances, it's built on two streets, so for whatever building materials you'd need you wouldn't have any trouble with trucks or anything having access."

As for it how she feels about auction day, Benson-Cooper said it would be an emotional time if it sells.

"Oh definitely. I'm in two minds about it. I'd be glad to have it sold and if it doesn't sell, well, it's not meant to be."

• The house goes up for auction on August 29 at 4pm.