This family-sized home is a property full of surprises. The house, a delightful 1930s era bungalow, is full of character throughout – rimu doors, architraves and cupboards have all been retained along with the original ceilings, but the owners, who have lived there nearly three decades, have added the modern features which make for easy comfortable family living.
The house, which has three good-sized bedrooms, a dining area off the spacious kitchen, and a huge lounge space, has been scrupulously maintained. An extension to enlarge the lounge and some other alterations were done completely in keeping with the original style, says the owner, Lois.
She and her late husband, Paul, raised their four children here. She leaves with regret, but says it is time for another family to enjoy the property, which is fully fenced for children and pets.
The home has two bathrooms – one shares the space with the laundry, which is very convenient after a session in the garden. ‘‘You can come in, drop your dirty clothes into the machine and have a shower, all before going into the house.’’
The home is heated by a large wood burner in the lounge. ‘‘We got the largest one we could. It easily heats this entire end of the house, the lounge, hall and all the bedrooms,’’ she says. ‘‘We don’t need any other form of heating.’’
A set of bi-fold doors open on to the deck from the lounge.
In the dining room, the original coal range is still in place but the chimney has been sealed up and a new modern wood burner brought in to take its place. The home is wrapped with 50 square metres of deck, providing a space to enjoy the outdoors at any time of year or day. The deck is northeast and south-facing, so it gets the morning sun and in the summer, is a lovely shady spot when it gets hot.
Around the southern end is a mature wisteria that will soon drape the house with a fringe of foot-long strings of white, fragrant blossom and then provide soft green shade during the summer months.
The property has a roomy single garage as well as a secure carport and extra paved area for parking. There is a decent-sized man shed, well equipped with benches and shelves, behind the garage.
Storage will never be an issue here – there are four sheds which come off the house, and a nifty attic area inside above the living spaces.
The attic area is reached by a stairwell and although it is not intended for use as a bedroom, was often a popular teenage hangout and also an incredible storage space, she says.
Outside the back door, sheds provide storage for many purposes. The closest one was home to the family-sized freezer and shelves of preserves, then there is a sleep out which all four children used for a time. Besides that, another shed was where Paul kept his motorbike and the family’s camping gear. Next is a shed that is home to the lawnmower and gardening tools, and at the end is the firewood storage area. The sheds are all under the cover of the verandah so there are no wet trips required to fetch wood in damper weather.
The quarter-acre garden has been developed over the years, and includes a range of native trees, fruit trees, a family- sized vegetable plot, and an outdoor bathroom, heated by a fire. A hedge encircles the fire bath, which boasts an old fashioned shower head. ‘‘Two people can fit in the bath, one each end. You fill it and light the fire underneath and it takes 20 minutes to heat the water,’’ she says.
Around the garden, productive fruit trees have kept the family supplied with copious amounts of apple for winter puddings and damson plums for jam for many years. As well, there are citrus, feijoa, blueberry and blackcurrants. A surprise is a banana palm.
‘‘Its probably the only banana growing in Stratford. Every winter it turns to mush and each spring it loyally sprouts again, although we haven’t had any fruit off it,’’ she says.
The garden is generally easy to care for, she says. ‘‘When the spring bulbs finish, the dahlias will come up.’’