Night­mare to dream home

First own­ers bit the bul­let and com­pletely re­built their house, writes Louise Richard­son

Weekend Herald - - HERALD HOMES -

Mark Sceats and Lyn­ley Averis have no hes­i­ta­tion in de­scrib­ing the leaky home night­mare they en­dured af­ter buy­ing their Re­muera home 17 years ago — be­cause it had a pos­i­tive out­come.

“We’d only been here for a few weeks and sud­denly all this wa­ter ap­peared in the house ev­ery time that it rained. It came down in cas­cades around the win­dow frames and we had to put buck­ets ev­ery­where,” says Lyn­ley.

“Be­cause the house was only six years old we hadn’t got a builder’s re­port, so we didn’t know our pur­chase was a tick­ing time- bomb.”

With two small daugh­ters, Emily, now 23, and Imo­gen, 18, Mark and Lyn­ley found the im­pact of re­me­dial work was in­con­ve­nient, ex­pen­sive and emo­tion­ally drain­ing, with lawyers and court hear­ings be­com­ing a way of life.

“I can ab­so­lutely un­der­stand how the leaky build­ing cri­sis led to mar­riage break- ups and sui­cides,” says Mark. “It was the tough­est time we’ve ever had.

“Luck­ily for us, the builder — who did a run­ner when we tried to in­volve him in our case — had used treated tim­ber, so rot wasn’t a big is­sue, but there were no flash­ings and we still had to have ab­so­lutely all the wood fram­ing re­newed and the cladding re­moved and re­placed.

“We de­cided to bite the bul­let and had it re­built to the point where it was prac­ti­cally a new house, with a new roof and new deck­ing.

“There’s never been a sin­gle is­sue since — it’s as solid as a rock.”

Sit­ting in a se­cluded spot at the end of a long shared drive­way with se­cu­rity gates, the el­e­vated

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22C STANDEN AVE, RE­MUERA SIZE ( more or less): PRICE GUIDE: AUC­TION: SCHOOLS: IN­SPECT:

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three- level house is large at al­most 300sq m.

Lyn­ley who works as a MYOB con­sul­tant for small busi­nesses has her of­fice near the front en­trance, so she can have clients visit with­out in­vad­ing the fam­ily’s pri­vacy. The pow­der room be­hind it is the only part of the house un­touched in the re­build. Also down here is an in­ter­nal ac­cess dou­ble garage and sep­a­rate laun­dry.

On the next level, lies the huge lounge and gen­er­ous kitchen space — with new gas hob and bench­tops. A sep­a­rate for­mal din­ing room has rarely been used.

“The way we live these days is much more open­plan,” he says.

The girls’ bed­rooms and the spare room are sunny with gar­den or neigh­bour­hood views and the master suite has its own bath­room and walk- in wardrobe. There’s also a fam­ily bath­room with a spa bath. Although the sec­tion size is mod­est, the space is well used, with dis­crete gar­den “rooms”, in­clud­ing a main area with bar­be­cue, out­door fire­place and a lap pool with sea­wa­ter, which is heated by so­lar pan­els on the roof. A pretty court­yard has es­tab­lished trees and shrubs, and is ideal for grow­ing veg­eta­bles.

The neigh­bour­hood is friendly and the girls at­tended Vic­to­ria Av­enue pri­mary school, with their fa­ther of­ten lead­ing the walk­ing school bus.

“Schools were a big driver for us be­cause we wanted them to go to Ep­som Girls’ Gram­mar and they both did very well there,” says Lyn­ley.

With Emily now work­ing over­seas and Imo­gen head­ing to Can­ter­bury Univer­sity next year, Mark and Lyn­ley don’t fancy rat­tling around in their big house so they’ve de­cided to move north of Auck­land and will keep a small pied- a- terre in the city.

“It was a hard de­ci­sion but we feel that the time is right.

“At least we can feel con­fi­dent that the new own­ers will be buy­ing a top- notch, qual­ity prop­erty.”

PHO­TOS / TED BAGHURST

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