3/52 AITKEN TERRACE, KINGSLAND.
Two years ago, Susie leaped at the chance to buy this two-level Kingsland apartment. She had viewed many urban-fringe pads and instantly recognised that this one stood out from the rest.
"All the other apartments were nothing like this. They were smaller and boxier," she says. "Nothing else had tempted me. As soon as I walked in here, I knew."
Susie was attracted to the elevated position, the abundance of natural light spilling in and a sense of spaciousness apartments seldom offer. The main living area sits within what is effectively a double-height atrium, its northern wall taken up almost entirely with high windows or glass sliding doors that afford an attractive aspect across to Arch Hill. Susie says the fitted blinds are seldom lowered thanks to the privacy bestowed by the apartment's lofty position above the street.
From the roadside, the low-rise block has horizontal elements such as glass safety panels on the balconies and a trio of strategically placed metal struts adding texture and interest to an otherwise stern facade. With a total of just four residences in the complex, Susie says the intimate size means all the occupants know each other.
The entrance leads directly into the hub of the home, the open plan living and kitchen area. Sleek black cabinetry and a charcoal grey glass splash-back complement the terrazzo kitchen island. A pantry and integrated refrigerator are symmetrically aligned around the cooking zone which features a stainless steel oven and gas cook-top.
The symmetry of the kitchen design mirrors that of the overall floor plan. From the main living space where walls are painted a soft dove grey, two short hallways lead to a large bedroom at the rear with its own sheltered full-width deck and a built-in open wardrobe. The roomy guest bathroom can be accessed from each hallway via a black sliding door.
A wooden staircase edged with vertical supports spanned by four lengths of wire for safety dominates the western wall and leads to the main bedroom. Occupants have an unobstructed northern view thanks to a large rectangular cut-out in the wall. The en suite bathroom features a freestanding claw-foot bath and is accessible from either side by a pair of black sliding doors. His-and-hers wardrobes can also be reached from both sides of the bedroom, continuing the symmetrical theme established on the lower level. Although the en suite bathroom is well endowed with windows, protection from an adjacent building obviates the need for curtains or blinds.
Exposed steel beams and a floor of polished particle-board lend a raw, semi-industrial feel. A trio of uplights set into the floor near the entrance door and a trio of wall-lights at ankle height along the staircase are two examples of the apartment's understated detail.
With a baby due in January and in need of a larger home, Susie and partner Greg Batt are relocating to a Westmere bungalow.
Susie says she'll miss the apartment which is "airy, light and cool", especially the full-width front balcony from where dramatic sunsets can be admired. The cafes and bars of Kingsland are handy and it takes less than 10 minutes to walk to Eden Park.