Have a nosey in­side a dozen homes

Central Leader - - News - By Jo­ce­lyn Rein

Cu­ri­ous neigh­bours are get­ting a chance to poke their noses in­side some of Auck­land’s most el­e­gant homes in the name of char­ity.

The own­ers of 12 of Auck­land’s finest homes will be open­ing their doors to the pub­lic this month for the NZ House and Gar­den Tours 2009, fundrais­ing for the Can­cer So­ci­ety and Look Good Feel Bet­ter.

Pon­sonby home owner Ger­ar­dine Drees and her fam­ily will be va­cat­ing their ren­o­vated, three-level villa for a day while the tours are on.

In their four years at the ad­dress, Ger­ar­dine says she and hus­band David have worked to­gether, blend­ing their in­di­vid­ual tastes to cre­ate the el­e­gant, Euro­pean feel to their home.

They had both trav­elled a lot and each al­ready had an es­tab­lished home, so she says the new house is a com­bi­na­tion of both their be­long­ings.

“We both had a big in­put into how we wanted the house to look.

“It was cer­tainly never go­ing to be a min­i­mal­ist home.”

She says the villa was a flat when they bought it and needed a lot of work.

“I don’t think one room was left un­touched.”

Ger­ar­dine’s favourite space in the house is the light and airy liv­ing room, which leads out to a court­yard and pool.

“There’s in­door-out­door flow. We eat out there ev­ery night – it’s al­most like a sec­ond room.”

For Ger­ar­dine, sup­port­ing the Can­cer So­ci­ety has a more per­sonal mean­ing as well.

The day she was asked to take part, she was wait­ing for the re­sults of a biopsy her­self.

For­tu­nately the test was neg­a­tive but she says be­ing in that situ- ation made her even more keen to sup­port the Can­cer So­ci­ety.

“I thought: ‘What­ever the out­come is, I will sup­port this.’

“It was meant to be re­ally.”

She says she’s happy to be able to give some­thing back to the Can­cer So­ci­ety and Look Good Feel Bet­ter, an in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tion that re­stores self-es­teem to women can­cer pa­tients through beauty work­shops.

NZ House and Gar­den mag­a­zine ed­i­tor Michal McKay will also be open­ing her doors to the pub­lic for the tour and says she has been ab­so­lutely thrilled with the re­sponse so far.

Tick­ets have sold out in Auck­land but there might be more printed, putting the funds raised al­ready at more than $200,000.

She says in the tough eco­nomic cli­mate, it is dou­bly thrilling that tick­ets are sell­ing so well to sup­port char­i­ties that may be strug­gling more than usual.

“The mag­a­zine has such a wide reach, we feel al­most morally bound that we should be help­ing in some way.”

The NZ House and Gar­den Tours 2009 vis­its Auck­land on March 27.

Tick­ets are $55 for ac­cess to all 12 houses in the tour and they may still be avail­able from www.tick­et­mas­ter. co.nz.


Clas­sic style: Ger­ar­dine Drees is open­ing her doors for the NZ House and Gar­den Tours.

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