Sir John Key’s flash new pad

Ar­chi­tect’s de­sign for tight site next to old home of­fers lux­ury liv­ing on three lev­els

Weekend Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Anne Gib­son

It could be game, set and match to for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Sir John Key.

In Septem­ber the Week­end Her­ald re­ported that the Key fam­ily had sold their St Stephens Ave man­sion, but were plan­ning to keep a ten­nis court on the big site for a fu­ture de­vel­op­ment.

This week the Her­ald ob­tained plans for the site — sub­mit­ted by Ken Whit­ney, once de­scribed as Sir John’s lawyer — which re­veal a new light- filled home on what is now the ten­nis court be­side the fam­ily’s Par­nell home.

The plans show a spa­cious 225sq m house de­signed by Su­mich Chap­lin Ar­chi­tects on a rel­a­tively tight 588sq m site fac­ing tree- lined St Stephens Ave. It will be three lev­els high with a swim­ming pool, sub­ter­ranean garage, lift to its three lev­els and even an un­der­ground ve­hi­cle turntable, ac­cord­ing to plans lodged with Auck­land Coun­cil.

The coun­cil granted sub­di­vi­sion con­sent in April and ap­proved the de­tailed ar­chi­tec­tural plans from Whit­ney’s An­tipodes Trust Group in July. Both ap­pli­ca­tions were non­no­ti­fied, mean­ing the pub­lic were not in­formed, as the rules al­low.

Guests will walk through a for­mal gar­den en­clo­sure, past the in- ground pool and out­door din­ing area, to en­ter the ground floor re­cep­tion.

To one side, they will move into the large kitchen area while to the other side they will be in a re­laxed fam­ily din­ing/ lounge zone, all spa­ciously laid out, with floor- to­ceil­ing win­dows flank­ing these ar­eas for max­i­mum sun­light.

Floor- to- ceil­ing join­ery al­lows rooms to open to out­door din­ing, en­ter­tain­ing and pool ar­eas.

The house has a lift, sit­u­ated be­tween the ground- floor guest bed­room with en­suite and a study with a desk and four- seater board­room- style ta­ble, over­look­ing the gar­den. A more for­mal sep­a­rate lounge along­side looks out on to the gar­den, a for­mal fire­place its cen­tre­piece.

Up­stairs off the land­ing i s the master bed­room with a walk- in wardrobe/ dress­ing room and ex­ten­sive stor­age, en­tered be­fore reach­ing the en­suite bath­room. A sec­ond bed­room on that level also has its own en­suite.

El­e­va­tions show two chim­neys, hedges for pri­vacy and a drive­way gra­di­ent of 1: 5, rel­a­tively steep ac­cess to the un­der­ground garag­ing.

An in- ground car turntable means ve­hi­cles will not have the hazard of back­ing out of the base­ment. In­stead, they will be moved in the tight spot on a spe­cial turntable and drive out for­wards.

That base­ment also has its own gym, stor­age ar­eas, in­ter­nal stairs and ac­cess to the lift so get­ting the gro­ceries up from the car won’t be a has­sle.

The base­ment also has a large un­der­ground room la­belled “the­atre”.

Whit­ney said he was un­able to com­ment to the Her­ald yes­ter­day.

On Septem­ber 9, the Her­ald re­ported how Sir John and Lady Bron­agh had sold their fam­ily home in the last two months for an es­ti­mated $ 20m but “re­tained roughly a 650sq m slice — cur­rently a ten­nis/ bas­ket­ball court — for a fu­ture home.”

When Sir John re­tired as Prime Min­is­ter, he said he would trade his Par­nell man­sion in for a smaller place.

The ten­nis court site be­side the Par­nell house which was home to for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Sir John Key, his wife Lady Bron­agh and fam­ily.

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