If you're a particularly fastidious All Blacks fan you may recognise the ornate art-deco walls of this Auckland city roof-top apartment, which cost more than $6 million to buy and renovate.

The 539sq m space atop the Heritage Hotel on Hobson St has been the media home and backdrop of countless team photos of the national rugby union team over the past decade.

But after being bought by Steve and Bridget Varney in 2017 for $2.5m, the Auckland couple have just finished an ambitious New York style loft renovation.

The process saw 18 tonnes of steel craned through a seven-storey window due to the heritage category B restrictions of the Grand Tearoom wing - built atop the old Farmers department store in the 1930s.

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Steve Varney said there had been a resource consent to convert the space to four apartments when he and Bridget bought it.

"People my age, we all grew up knowing that room, and for someone to go and put four apartments in there seemed a waste. So we loved the project," Varney said.

"Bridget has designed it, but she wanted it to feel like a New York loft and I think she's achieved that pretty well."

The $3.6m renovation of the 539 square metre Grand Tearoom atop Heritage Hotel in Auckland CBD was designed by Siavash Momeny from Gaze architects.
The $3.6m renovation of the 539 square metre Grand Tearoom atop Heritage Hotel in Auckland CBD was designed by Siavash Momeny from Gaze architects.
The top floor has sweeping views of Auckland Harbour. Photo / Supplied
The top floor has sweeping views of Auckland Harbour. Photo / Supplied

But the couple came up against a number of restrictions on altering any aspect of the space due to the heritage listing.

"The first one was you're not allowed to fix anything to the ceiling or a wall," Varney said.

"So you can imagine in the design phase that creates a few problems. From a seismic point of view, you can only put any weight on the pillars below.

"The main lights, they had to be relocated. In fact, we weren't allowed to take those off site. That's how strict the council were on it. They're pretty much a work of art themselves."

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To accommodate the restrictions on altering the structure, Varney said they divided the space by installing two steel box rooms "for want of a better word".

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The architect of the renovation was Siavash Momeny from Gaze Commercial.

"It's just big, mate, bloody big. But it's no different than living in any other apartment," Varney said.

"I mean the facilities at the hotel are really good. Two pools, two gyms, a tennis court, sauna."

Heritage Auckland conference manager Kaye Pegler in the Grand Tearoom function room of the hotel. Photo / NZME
Heritage Auckland conference manager Kaye Pegler in the Grand Tearoom function room of the hotel. Photo / NZME
The penthouse floor at 35 Hobson St features a high-stud art-deco ceiling and distinctive chandeliers. Photo / Supplied
The penthouse floor at 35 Hobson St features a high-stud art-deco ceiling and distinctive chandeliers. Photo / Supplied

The entire renovation, which cost $3.6m, will be documented on the premiere of the 2020 season of Grand Designs, on Three, this Monday at 7.30pm.

"It's not something she [Bridget] would normally do but she felt people should know what had happened to the room because everyone knows about it," Varney said.

The Heritage Hotel was first constructed in 1914 as a warehouse before being redeveloped into the country's largest department store in 1920.

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In the 1930s, the silver service Grand Tearoom was added atop with seating for 300 people.

Extensive floor-to-ceiling glazing offered sweeping views of the Waitematā Harbour and it became one of Auckland's most fashionable eateries and hosted many civic functions.

All Blacks coach Ian Foster addresses the media during a press conference held at the Heritage Hotel. Photo / Dean Purcell
All Blacks coach Ian Foster addresses the media during a press conference held at the Heritage Hotel. Photo / Dean Purcell
The Barrett brothers - Beauden, Scott and Jordie - speak to the media at the All Blacks press conference at the Heritage Hotel. Photo / NZME
The Barrett brothers - Beauden, Scott and Jordie - speak to the media at the All Blacks press conference at the Heritage Hotel. Photo / NZME

The Grand Tearoom had operated as a function centre since the landmark store's conversion to an apartment hotel in the late 1990s.

In October 2018, the 20-year Heritage Hotel lease of the Grand Tearoom expired and it was bought by the Varneys - who own and run office equipment leasing company Simply Leasing.

High-profile sporting teams such as Italian America's Cup yachting syndicate Luna Rossa and the All Blacks have used the Grand Tearoom as their team headquarters and meeting place when staying at the hotel.

In 1999, Bill Clinton, then President of the United States, presented to Apec members in the Grand Tearoom.

• The Varneys' property features on Grand Designs on Three this Monday night at 7.30pm

The Heritage Hotel at 35 Hobson St in which the Grand Tearoom penthouse floor is for sale. Photo / Supplied
The Heritage Hotel at 35 Hobson St in which the Grand Tearoom penthouse floor is for sale. Photo / Supplied