Call it serendipity. Sixteen years ago John and Margie Newman had a stroke of extreme good fortune while looking for a new home. Keen to try living in a city-fringe converted warehouse, they had trouble finding the right property and after selling their mock Tudor
Epsom home, went to stay with friends while continuing their search.
Margie happened to mention to the tiler working on her friend's house that she was looking for a warehouse that could be transformed into an apartment. She couldn't believe it when he told her he had one for sale.
The day after viewing the building in Williamson Ave, Grey Lynn, she and John became the new owners. The location was perfect — about two minutes walk to Ponsonby Rd — but it needed a lot of work.
Again, the Newmans were lucky. They asked Tim Dorrington, the architect working at the time on a rural property they owned, if he could take on the project, and he accepted.
"He said, 'I can do something with this', and he did an amazing job," says Margie. "He was straight out of architecture school but understood exactly what we wanted."
Margie and John's wish list included repurposing the 1990s warehouse to create an urban loft apartment that not was not only stylish, but functional. It was important that the industrial past of the building was respected, and warmth, privacy and security were alsorequired, as was plenty of natural light.
They also wanted the commercial showroom on the ground floor kept as a separate entity that could be rented out to provide income, and the compact apartment upstairs extended to provide multiple living zones and indoor/outdoor flow.
Now the upstairs living area is a huge open-plan L-shaped space with concrete floors and vaulted ceilings. There are industrial-strength glass doors at either end, one set sliding open to a large deck that is ideal for entertaining, and the other leading to an enclosed courtyard that is sheltered and quiet.
Tim kept the original steel trusses and pockmarked concrete tilt slab walls, and had a new concrete wall alongside the staircase bagged to match the others. A steel lighting rack adds to the industrial feel and provides carefully planned lighting.
Tim came up with a very clever design feature — two rectangular "pods" with sleek white cabinetry that provide great storage while dividing the living space into separate zones and enhancing the minimalist style.
A suspended outdoor staircase from the courtyard provides access to a rooftop terrace that is a peaceful place to read or enjoy a glass of wine. Meanwhile an internal flight of stairs leads up to the two bedrooms. Both have oak floors and en suites — the one in the master bedroom is a wet room with striking dark grey tiles, a contemporary shower and a classic clawfoot bath.
The master bedroom also has a walk-in wardrobe, additional closets, a pivoting door and a view over the courtyard. Downstairs, the warehouse space has been used as showroom.
24A WILLIAMSON AVE
• 2 bedrooms, 2 bathroom, 0* parking spaces.
• Land 356sq m; apartment 242sq m.
• Sale date: Nov 22.
• Inspect: Sat/Sun 12.30-1pm.
• Contact: Chloe Wither, Ray White, 021 672 191, rwponsonby.co.nz/auckland/grey-lynn/24a-williamson-avenue-pon26331/