After selling a successful cabinetmaking business, Lynn Espie's late husband Barrie spent three years crafting this luxurious home in the style of a Paddington terrace house.
Aided by his equally meticulous brother and another helper, he created the secluded three-level home which incorporates luxurious materials and an extraordinary level of detailing.
Lynn says: "People don't know it's down here in this very private setting. Barrie was an absolute perfectionist who'd built our previous home too and was delighted with what we achieved here."
The couple set out to create a distinctive upmarket home they envisaged would be their last. They included a lift and ensured their polished-looking downstairs with second kitchen could be shut off if required to house a carer for them.
They completed the home in 2006, spending a happy six years here together interspersed with frequent travelling before Barrie passed away in 2012.
Seventy-nine-year-old Lynn says: "I looked to buy something smaller in this area but couldn't find anything of the right quality."
She reconciled herself with leaving this home by subdividing off some land to one side where she's had a smaller home built for her and her dog Eva.
That has still left this double grammar-zoned property with 884sq m grounds, walking distance from Parnell village towards the end of a blue-chip cul-de-sac.
It's down a right-of-way among plentiful birdlife in nearby bush, and is steps away from the Awatea Reserve and its Hobson Bay walkway access.
The Espies bought here in 2003, removing an old house uninhabited for years and having architect friend Malcolm Brown of BDG design this home.
Lynn says: "Malcolm did start out saying 'Paddington terrace houses are normally on a street frontage', to which we said, 'Well, that's fine but we love the look of them and we want that here'."
Four-strong off-street parking could accommodate a boat. They kept their motor-home in the internal-access double garage which conceals garage paraphernalia in bespoke drawers recessed into a wall.
The home is solid plaster over concrete block, accented by shutters and extensive metal lacework the couple imported from Sydney.
The front door opens into the ground floor which is mid-level of three, all united by a lift and stairs. There's under-floor gas SunFlow water heating throughout, even under carpet.
And there's abundant marble. It floors the foyer and the stunning rear kitchen-dining room with marble splash-back and marble island under a soaring roofline.
Lynn says: "We saw a larger version of that atrium skylight above us when we were in a hotel in Switzerland and rung Malcolm to say 'there's another thing we'd like to add.'
This space opens wide to a rear deck, one of the home's numerous decks, porches and balconies, including Juliet-style balconies.
A double-sided gas fireplace also warms a walnut-floored lounge incorporating a concealed plumbed bar.
"It's a lovely place for a quiet drink after dinner."
A powder room resplendent in marble is nearby.
Upstairs includes a large bedroom with en suite and office area.
The striking master bedroom nearby includes snakeskin-patterned, mint-metallic wallpaper, a concealed TV and in-wall lingerie drawers, plus a dressing room.
Its large marble-clad en suite bathroom is a show-stopper featuring a shower with additional side jets and a gorgeous French tub so heavy it was craned in before the roof was on. So was the antique bank door announcing the lower level's bespoke cellar.
Heated polished concrete floors feature throughout the rest of this level.
A kitchen-dining room adjoining another lounge opens both to a covered deck and to a big outdoor entertaining courtyard featuring gas flares. There's also a sizeable patio off one of two big bedrooms, which are serviced by a mosaic-tiled bathroom.
31A AWATEA RD, PARNELL
• 4 bedrooms, 3 bathroom, 2* parking spaces.
• Land 884sq m, house 342sq m.
• Auction: Dec 6 (unless sold prior).
• Inspect: Sat/Sun 1-1.45pm. Weds 7.30-8.15pm.
• Schools: Parnell School, Auckland Grammar, Epsom Girls' Grammar.
• Contact: Mark Sumich, Sumich Estate Agents & Auctioneers, 0274 909 814.