Former town planner Ray Therkleson has put his stamp on every inch of this property during 40-plus years here. It'sin the lush and colourful front courtyard, in the rear courtyard, with tall trees and a grape-laden kitchen pergola.

Underfoot, it's in the 1600 or so recycled bricks he laid himself, and which add integrity to this 1910 transitional villa.

This is the family home Ray has lovingly renovated. Even now, he can't stop touching it up as he prepares to retire to his sister's place in Nelson.

Back in his mid-1970s varsity days, he paid $19,000 for this property, filling it with flatmates so he could clear his government suspensory loan.


He loved the diversity of pre-gentrification Grey Lynn back then. The evolution of this house reflects the wider changes in the area.

Once mustard-coloured, it has modelled every design trend, inside and out. "It has been bright and it has been dark — it has seen all the fashions," says Ray.

26 Dryden Street, Grey Lynn. Photo / Supplied
26 Dryden Street, Grey Lynn. Photo / Supplied

In the front of the house, he installed a new bay window in one bedroom and restored the veranda with French doors off the opposite bedroom.

Original features include rimu doors and architraves and the board-and-batten ceilings, some all-white and others with original dark beams. Elsewhere, features hark back to previous eras, too, including the art deco light-fittings and the 1950s pelmet above the sliding door into the lounge.

Beyond the architectural details, it is clear that Ray never baulked at following through on his visions. "There was always a project on the go."

He worked his way through the patchwork of carpeted and linoleum-clad floors to return the kauri floorboards to pristine condition.

26 Dryden Street, Grey Lynn. Photo / Supplied
26 Dryden Street, Grey Lynn. Photo / Supplied

He opened out the original kitchen and the dining area into the lounge, installing a wood-burning wetback for hot water and winter heating.

Ray had just finished the kitchen in the farmhouse style that exemplifies his love of timber when something else caught his eye.


It was the way the sun shone through the conservatory dining area on to the wall above the lounge.

He needed to coax the sunlight further inside. So he designed three leadlight windows to do so, each with a hint of the colour mirrored in leadlights elsewhere in the house.

The windows repeat the same detail in the framework that Ray took great care to restore and, where appropriate, replicate.

The matching French doors, which he had built for the front bedroom and from the dining area to the courtyard, continue that design consistency.

26 Dryden Street, Grey Lynn. Photo / Supplied
26 Dryden Street, Grey Lynn. Photo / Supplied

There's another significant door that has its own story. It's the sliding door in the rear lounge, which Ray salvaged from Gleeson's Hotel in central Auckland, shortly before it was demolished.

Ray knew it from his father's days as the publican there and he believes the door was between the public bar and ladies' bar.

Beyond this door, and beyond the kitchen and the bathroom/laundry on the opposite side of what was once the back porch, there is still more of Ray's handiwork. He built the 60 sq m one-bedroom, one-bathroom dwelling set among more garden.

As a child, Ray's family moved multiple times and it was hard for him to put down roots. He is sad but accepting about leaving his great pride and joy and looking ahead to a new life in the South Island.

• 5 bedrooms, 3 bathroom, 2* parking spaces.
• Land 491sq m, house 145sq m.
• Auction: Feb 20.
• Inspect: Sat/Sun 11-11.45am or by appointment.
• Schools: Grey Lynn School, Auckland Girls' Grammar and Western Springs College.
• Contact: Malcolm Low, Ray White, 0274 18 18 18.
*Plus 4 OSP