Hid­den away in Ti­ti­rangi, a mid-cen­tury home pro­vides a wel­come city es­cape.

A mid-cen­tury clas­sic is ideal for fam­ily liv­ing away from the hurly-burly of Auck­land


Fast-paced Auck­land is left be­hind on the ap­proach to John and Ta­nia Bai­ley’s peace­ful Ti­ti­rangi hide­away. Bush-clad hills give way to panoramic blue har­bour views, cre­at­ing an in­stantly calm­ing ef­fect. A leafy tree­lined drive­way fur­ther en­hances the pri­vacy and seclu­sion.

“It’s an oa­sis here,” says John. “We can’t see any neigh­bours, which is a real lux­ury in Auck­land.”

The out­look won the cou­ple over the day they came to view the ar­chi­tect-de­signed home 15 years ago. “We’ve been here so long we do tend take it for granted,” says Ta­nia. “But we ap­pre­ci­ate it all over again when peo­ple visit for the first time and are blown away by the views, or we go on hol­i­day and come back.”

The de­sign of the home is just as rel­e­vant for con­tem­po­rary liv­ing as it was the day it was built 44 years ago. The clean lines and in­te­rior lay­out de­signed by Auck­land ar­chi­tect Mor­ton Jor­dan re­main un­touched. Ta­nia and John’s changes have been mostly cos­metic: up­dat­ing the laun­dry, bath­rooms and kitchen to add the com­forts of 21st cen­tury liv­ing, as well as paint­ing most of the in­ter­nal tim­ber white in the main liv­ing area. >

“What was in­ter­est­ing about this house when we moved in was that it was im­me­di­ately ap­par­ent where the fur­ni­ture should go,” says John. “It was re­ally easy to set up. There were no lengthy dis­cus­sions about what should go where and I think that comes down to the de­sign. It func­tions very well.”

Built to fol­low the to­pog­ra­phy of the slop­ing site, the home’s multi-level liv­ing zones are well used by the cou­ple and their sons Seb, 25, and Theo, 20. “This house was de­signed from the out­set for fam­ily liv­ing in the clas­sic 70s ar­chi­tec­tural trend of small bed­rooms and large liv­ing ar­eas,” says Ta­nia. “Fam­ily in­ter­ac­tion is very easy, but if we want some quiet time there are enough liv­ing spa­ces for us to do our own thing.”

One of the home’s four liv­ing ar­eas over­looks the din­ing table and kitchen. “The mez­za­nine was great when the boys were small. I could be in the kitchen and still keep an eye on what they were do­ing,” says Ta­nia. “And we could leave build­ing blocks scat­tered up there for days on end with­out feel­ing com­pelled to tidy up. It was also the ideal sleep­over space for birthday par­ties. Their mates still use it for that now.”

There is an­other lounge di­rectly be­low the mez­za­nine, and a fur­ther es­cape pod on the level that steps down from the kitchen/ din­ing area. “The lower liv­ing area has worked well as the boys have got older. There’s a pool table at one end so it’s a reg­u­lar gather­ing spot for teenagers and the oc­ca­sional party.”

John is an artist who has a pur­pose-built stu­dio at home and Ta­nia works for a Euro­pean fur­ni­ture fit­tings com­pany. The cou­ple share com­mon tastes and en­joy col­lab­o­rat­ing on their home. Heir­loom pieces mix har­mo­niously with John’s art­work and con­tem­po­rary fur­ni­ture. >

‘This house was de­signed from the out­set for fam­ily liv­ing... fam­ily in­ter­ac­tion is very easy’

Re­design­ing the large gar­den was at the top of the cou­ple’s to-do list when they moved in. Ini­tially daunted by the scale of the 4200sqm prop­erty, they were keen to sim­plify the cot­tage-style gar­den that was filled with rhodo­den­drons, camel­lias, roses and cherry trees. “Our aim was to cre­ate a mod­ern sub­trop­i­cal gar­den that would re­quire less main­te­nance. We’ve achieved that to some de­gree, but ev­ery gar­den re­quires main­te­nance,” says Ta­nia.

The gar­den makeover in­volved lev­el­ling and repaving the rear pa­tio and im­prov­ing its con­nec­tion to the house. “Orig­i­nally it was a brick pa­tio on two or three lev­els,” says John, a keen gar­dener who en­joys keep­ing the park-like grounds in shape. “We knew that get­ting a dig­ger in to level it would be costly but about seven years ago we de­cided to bite the bul­let and do it. That was ab­so­lutely the right thing to do.”

While the home pro­vides plenty of space for en­ter­tain­ing, both in­doors and out, it’s equally suited to rest and re­lax­ation. There are plenty of sunny spots for a cup of cof­fee or a glass of wine while read­ing or en­joy­ing the view of the gar­den.

“I have a cof­fee on the back deck and watch the sun come up, then I go into my stu­dio or do my stuff in the gar­den,” says John. “Later in the day I’ll have a glass of wine on the pa­tio near the front door, then an­other glass of wine on the deck where I started the day. It’s nice to just sit still and en­joy it.”


THIS PAGE John and Ta­nia Bai­ley make their way up the gar­den path to their Ti­ti­rangi home; be­yond is the Manukau har­bour.OP­PO­SITE The lush gar­den fea­tures Dra­caena draco (dragon tree), Aloe pli­catilis (fan aloe), Poor Knights lily and clivia; through the win­dow is John’s light-filled stu­dio: “Such large win­dows mean the out­side is al­ways present. I love the way there is green flora ev­ery­where I look,” says Ta­nia. “I ap­pre­ci­ate a beau­ti­ful gar­den but if I was left in charge it would not look nearly as good as it does. Luck­ily John is a tal­ented gar­dener.”

THIS PAGE (from top) The small, split-level mas­ter bed­room uses ev­ery bit of space; a Scotch ch­est that be­longed to Ta­nia’s grand­fa­ther fits per­fectly next to the wardrobe. The en suite over­looks the gar­den and har­bour; John and Ta­nia re­placed the orig­i­nal van­ity with a dou­ble basin.OP­PO­SITE (clock­wise from top left) The view across Manukau har­bour to the air­port on the op­po­site shore. John and Ta­nia with Raffi, a springer spaniel/bor­der col­lie cross. Nigel Cameron Land­scapes cre­ated the out­door liv­ing area, in­clud­ing the ir­reg­u­lar over­sized con­crete pavers that were poured on site, re­plac­ing the orig­i­nal multi-level brick court­yard.

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