Taranaki Daily News - Your Property Weekly - - Front Page - Cather­ine Groen­estein

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.’’

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