A smart renovation blends character with contemporary features in this lovely vintage home, writes LEIGH BRAMWELL
When Ben and Sarah Fahy bought their Mt Albert house in a private sale, part of the deal was that on settlement they had to come round with a bottle of champagne.
They liked the idea, loved the house, the deal was done and they moved in on the opening day of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
That was a decade ago and Sarah still remembers the pleasure of moving from a cold flat to a warm family home with views.
The sought-after location in a quiet street with access to transport and amenities, and walking distance from good schools added to the appeal.
Built in the 1920s, the house had been renovated over time by previous owners, and was immediately liveable for Ben and Sarah. But their family was growing and over the next four years they got a good feel of the space and how the house could best be extended.
Once their builder had confirmed the building was good and solid, they decided to add a storey to take advantage of the sun and the views, and give them the space they needed for what was to become a family of six.
“They’re all girls,” Ben says in mock despair. “Thank goodness I’ve got the double garage and workshop.”
The now-generous design covering 263sq m comprises five bedrooms, two bathrooms, and dual living areas with an easy flow around a smart kitchen.
The configuration allows for both formal and informal entertaining, and the space opens through the original French doors to a good-sized deck.
Ben and Sarah wanted to keep as many of the original features as was practical and saved all the original wooden windows, the timber floors and the bespoke beamed ceilings. “The builder said that matching up the ceiling beams once the house was extended was the hardest part of the design.”
The sympathetic renovation has resulted in a house whose exterior blends in with the neighbouring character homes, and whose interior provides for modern family living with central heating, electric rainsensing skylights, gas hot water and an alarm system.
Outside, a big, elevated outdoor living area takes in views of the city and the upper harbour, while lawns and
“Lockdown really showed us how easy this house was to live in.”
gardens provide good space for children within the fully fenced property.
“I’ll miss the light and the views,” Sarah says.
“Being able to see the city makes me feel very connected, and my world feels like a bigger place.”
“Lockdown really showed us how easy this house was to live in,” Ben says.
It also showed him that working remotely was a real option and that, along with the realisation that family is incredibly important, has driven the decision to move.
With family in Wanaka and Invercargill, their next move is to head off to the South Island for a new challenge. Sale: Auction August 12
Contact: Rachel Berry, Ray White, 021 195 4321; John Covich 021 195 4321
Hold your phone camera over the code to see the listing on OneRoof.co.nz