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NZ Renovated for family life

Property Here - Saturday, March 30, 2013

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Keeping the good aspects of a villa while not being constrained by them was Caitlin and Michael Wright's objective when they set out on this renovation project in Herne Bay's Trinity St.

With that brief in place, architect Darren Jessop drew up plans allowing usable spaces and good flow while retaining the villa's wide hallways and character features.

The couple bought the early 1900s villa in 2003. "It appealed because it was elevated, an old villa, and had lots of potential. It had been in the same family for 40 years," explains Caitlin.

"We like the area because you're within walking distance of the Ponsonby and Herne Bay shops. And there is a good atmosphere, lots of families with young children, and good schools."

They added the kitchen, dining and lounge at the rear of the house and kept the 3.3 stud throughout for a sense of continuity.

"We did it in two stages. The first in 2005. Then we waited and saved and did the big renovation at the end of 2007."

The second stage included top-end specs, a zoned sound system and automation for just about everything including setting the bath to fill to a specified level, as well as safety features for younger children.

"I like the good use of space," says Caitlin, "and it has clean and modern lines while still being a villa."

White decor was chosen for its aesthetics and practicality. "I feel white is much easier to keep clean. And I wanted it to have a resort feel, to be a calm place when I walked in."

That is certainly the feeling Caitlin and Michael's home conveys, from the moment you come on to the veranda, passing the garden's white camellias. The front door, with pretty-in-pink stained glass above, opens to the hallway with blonded rimu floors, bedrooms leading off each side.

The main bedroom accesses the front veranda through French doors and lockable plantation shutters, allowing fresh air in without compromising security. In the en suite, Caitlin indulged in Italian mosaic tiles and a floor-to-ceiling glass panel for the shower.

Isabella, 9, Madeleine, 8, and Francesca, 5, all have a room each, and there is the family bathroom at the end of the hallway just before the open plan area of kitchen, dining and the lounge.

The kitchen is probably the area of the house Caitlin will miss most when they sell. "I really like cooking and, even after five years, it's still a perfect kitchen."

Built by Customtone Kitchens of Otorohanga, its understated design includes a moving corner pantry, soft closing drawers and integrated appliances ... Brandt induction cooktop, Bosch oven, microwave and icemaker fridge/freezer and Asko dishwasher.

The wall next to the kitchen is distinctive with its black and white wallpaper, and a cavity slider allows the lounge to be shut off from the dining and kitchen. This area opens out through stacking, sliding doors to the lawn and gas-heated 8m x 4m and 2m deep pool. "That was the best thing we ever did. It means our girls' friends come to our house to play," says Caitlin.

This appealing villa has served this growing family well but now they are selling because they have another do-up project planned. "A bigger house for the next 10 years."

Caitlin imagines their villa will appeal to two types of buyers. "One is a family like us who will love it, like we have, for its good use of space, the pool and that it is a good entertaining house. Or older couples because it is a good lock-and-leave home, great for entertaining and private, and everything has been done."