SIZE: Land 971sq m (approx), house 540sq m-plus.
PRICE INDICATION: Interest over $3.6 million. Sale by negotiation.
INSPECT: Sunday 3-3.30pm.
SCHOOL ZONES: Kohimarama School, Selwyn College.
CONTACT: Michael Boulgaris or James Doole, Boulgaris Realty, ph 520 1192, Michael 021 366 366, James 021 666 938.
FEATURES: Renovated 1930s home on beautifully gardened large corner grounds with multiple living areas orientated for the sun and guest accommodation overlooking the pool. Secure off-street parking including boat parking.

"Sell before you buy" advise most property pundits, but the Marchs were delighted this special home melted their resolve to do just that 12 years ago.

"People have told us it's the loveliest home they've been in," Suzanne says somewhat bashfully. It was a favourite with many of the folk who saw it as part of a charity fundraising tour of fine homes and has featured in a design magazine.

In 1999, Suzanne and husband, civil engineering contractor Richard, changed their minds about building on their St Heliers property but told themselves they'd sell before looking seriously elsewhere.

However, when they noticed this 1930s weatherboard home on a large corner site blessed with lovely sun and harbour views - and the rest, as they say, is history.


They've brought up their daughter Francesca (19) in the two-storey home, which melds the classical charm of leadlights and chandeliers with modern family functionality. The interior displays the welcoming decor designers such as Ralph Lauren are known for, courtesy of interior designer Celine Vernezy of Cavit & Co.

Suzanne says: "Many of the previous owners seem to have stayed here for years and we've found it a lovely, easy family home."

Their effortlessly elegant lifestyle was underpinned by major renovations done for them by Brian Cullen. They upgraded foundations, rewired older electrics, installed central heating, an upmarket kitchen and bathrooms, and a pool. They enlarged the kitchen-dining, transformed a small downstairs room into a full media room and super-sized garaging from single to quadruple. Separate accommodation a few steps across the terrace was built to suit the home's style.

The Amber House - Suzanne understands its name references liquidambar trees accenting the front garden's formal planting - is a 450m stroll from the heart of Mission Bay. Its fully fenced grounds are secure and safe for the March menagerie of three dogs and two cats. There's an intercom-equipped pedestrian gate, auto-doors to the internal-access quadruple-plus garage and double gates securing additional off-street parking housing their boat.

The once-sloping grounds adjoining Ronaki Rd were transformed by landscape designer Glenn Sharp, sculpted into large functional terraces culminating in the rear pool area.

The covered entranceway displays one of the home's many clear-glass leadlights. A chandelier sparkles above the big entry foyer where French wallpaper mimics bookshelves and seals feature in the original statuette crowning the staircase's newel post.

Four sunny living spaces opening to substantial terraces line up side by side. Robyn Labb designed the roomy open-plan kitchen-dining where a Carrara marble-topped island projects above rimu floors, bleached and stained to neutralise their tone.

Richard remarks: "I love this home's position, overlooking the sea. I can sit here and see the yachts and boats going by." The home's view takes in Auckland's cityscape plus Bastion Point, continuing out to North Head and around the harbour.

A library with day-bed leads to two sumptuous lounges, the end lounge opening to a sleek tiled conservatory. A guest toilet and laundry round out the level. Upstairs has a deck and is orientated around a spacious landing with three big bedrooms, a luxurious en suite, bathroom and powder room and an office (which could be returned to a fifth bedroom).

Downstairs, the big media room with en suite serves as a pool room in summer and has been a great teen retreat. There's also another versatile room and a combination storage room-wine cellar. Suzanne's late mother lived in the separate haven overlooking the pool, suitable for guests with its en suite, kitchenette and walk-in wardrobe.

The rear gas-heated swimming pool set amid split-sandstone paving has a spa pool, outdoor shower and beautiful planting alongside. Richard says, "We get every drop of sun there is."

The couple often spend three days a week at their Omaha beach house and Francesca's studying in Wellington, so it's time for a more lock-up-and-leave home.