By Vicki Holder

Three generations of one family lived in this handsome character villa before Judy and Geoff Vaughan moved in as a young couple in 1992. With its huge level garden and its proximity to top schools, it has been the perfect place to call home, says Geoff.

The Hawkins built their home around 1870. It was one of the originals in the street. The property was much bigger then with a sweeping turnaround driveway.

Even though it has been subdivided and there are now three large homes behind it, it is still a lovely big piece of land by Auckland standards.

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As visitors head along the drive, past gingko and liquidamber trees, it looks just as it would have back in the day with two enormous sash windows peering out over the deck from the front lounge.

The house has been extended and modernised to gain sun and to create flow to the garden but Geoff says the Vaughans took pains to retain a sympathetic traditional villa style.

"We've never needed to repile. The piles are like ceramic pipes with mortar poured into them. And the floor is absolutely square."

They waited a few years to get to know the house before making changes. Geoff looked at other homes then approached one he liked to find out the name of the architect to design his alterations.

"She was a young woman who did commercial work and renovations in her own time at night."

When they built on to the family room, putting in bifold windows around a window seat and french doors, an old tin garage was removed to make way for a "garden room". A sunny paved area edged in a low stone garden wall and built-in seating is made private with trimmed hedging.

Though 20 years old now, the traditional farmhouse style kitchen added between the family area and dining room, has hardly dated. Likewise the family bathroom, decked in white subway tiles and a chequerboard tiled floor, has a timeless appeal.

The Vaughans created lots of extra storage, removing an old chimney breast to make space for wardrobes in one bedroom and adding villa panelled cabinets in others.

They extended the master bedroom onto the original deck as they put in an en suite, reusing original glass doors which tie it to the villa design. Having a large separate lounge at the far end of the house with its high beamed ceiling has been a boon.

"The bungalow ceiling was added in the 20s or 30s to give better acoustics because one of the Hawkins family was particularly musical. Both Judy and I sing in choirs. Often the bass section would end up in the lounge for a tune-up.

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"The children used to practise on their instruments here, too," he says.

"It's kind of bittersweet to be moving on," says Geoff, "because it's such a lovely spot.

Living here is easy for a young family.

"Our girls used to walk to St Cuthberts and Judy worked there as a remedial teacher. My son walked to Kohia Terrace. We just need another family with young children to step up and take it on; someone who loves and appreciates the park-like front lawn."

82 RANFURLY RD, EPSOM
• 4 bedrooms, 2 bathroom, 2* parking spaces.
• Land 893sq m, house 201sq m, garage 36sq m.
• Set sale date: 12 Feb (unless sold prior).
• Inspect: Sat/Sun 28/29 Jan, 2-2.30pm.
• Schools: AGS, EGGS, ANI, Kohia Terrace School.
• Contact: Ronald Lim, UP Real Estate, 027 482 7166; Sally Dawson, 021 725 590.
*2 OSP