The foundations for Chris and Helen's home at 60 Tukapa St in New Plymouth were put in place more than 100 years ago. You wouldn't think so, though, when you see the contemporary comforts this home offers today.
There's seemingly little left of the original 1912-built cottage that the couple bought here almost 34 years ago. "It was our first home ... our only home that we've owned," Chris says.
The couple had been planning to buy the previous home they were renting; but when that didn't work out, they looked for another home they could buy. This Westown cottage gave them the family base they wanted. "It had three huge bedrooms and we had three boys," Helen explains.
That was about to change, Chris notes, as Helen was eight months pregnant at the time. "So ... three boys and a bump." The bump later became a lovely baby girl.
The location appealed then ... and still does, Helen adds. "I said to Chris the other day, all the things we bought it for are still here - the schools, shops, kindergarten, and sports fields. Our doctor was just up the road, and the hospital was just around the corner."
Chris points out the proximity to town. "Down Morley St into town ... it's just a two-minute drive."
"And it's a great place to walk dogs," Helen adds.
While the house suited them, it wasn't perfect, they accepted. It still had old scrim linings on the interior walls and its services needed seriously updating - but it had just been freshly painted and they could move in immediately. The improvements could come later.
And they did. It's been repiled, rewired, replumbed and reroofed, the ceilings and interior walls have been relined, all the exterior weatherboard cladding has been replaced, and new aluminium-framed joinery has been fitted. And in the last few years, the kitchen has been renewed for the second time.
"There are a few floorboards left and some of the internal walls," Helen says of the original cottage.
All that renovation work left plenty of demolition timber and offcuts that proved useful during winter months. "We spent a few years burning our house," Helen quips. "Even the old totara piles ... we burned those."
The house sits almost in the middle of the Westown shopping centre, just across the road from the TSB branch. But you hardly realise the home is here, masked as it is by a fence, bushy green landscaping and its double garage.
So you have to come in and walk through this house to appreciate what it has. Life here is enjoyed on the northern side of the house. "We don't hear the traffic ... we live out in the sun," Helen says.
A visit to this home begins with the paver-patterned concrete path that leads from the front gate to the foyer entry. Chris and Helen closed in the original porch entrance to create a more spacious, sheltered welcome that also provides an internal access to the double garage.
The hallway inside the front door leads past the home's three bedrooms and big family bathroom. The master bedroom to the right is still definitely a generous space today, and looks even larger with the mirrored doors of the double wardrobe. The bedroom is smaller than it was after some of its abundance of space was used to allow the construction of a staircase up to rooms created in the tall-pitched roof space.
Up those stairs you find a fourth bedroom and a mezzanine area that is a useful office space for Helen. The couple both work from home and Chris has appropriated the second front bedroom as his office area. They added the bay window to this room as an extra feature.
Follow the hallway through to the back of the house and you find the living areas that open out to the sun-drenched deck. The kitchen is a bright space with extra illumination from the central skylight. It also features the 'Wellywood' lime green wall colour that Helen fell in love with - complemented by the adjacent wallpaper that repeats the colour in its pattern.
Through a wide doorway to the side of the kitchen's breakfast area is the large lounge - with the extra sense of space provided by the mezzanine level that looks over it. Large windows make this an appealingly light space as well, while a freestanding woodburning fireplace adds comfort in the cooler months.
The screened flue of the fireplace rises through the mezzanine area, radiating otherwise unused heat as it reaches for the ceiling.
Both the kitchen and lounge areas open via French doors to a large timber deck, covered in part by a clear-panelled roof extension. Out here, Helen points out the variety of fruit trees that compensated for the prompt removal of a glasshouse when they first bought this property.
"That was the first thing that went," Helen recalls. Three boys and glass was not a combination they wanted, and she admits they are not gardeners.
Fruit trees were a practical alternative. They now enjoy seasonal choices of grapes, tangelo, orange, lemon, plum, passionfruit and feijoa. "We get 2000 feijoas a year off that little tree," Chris says.
Standing out here, you don't realise there's a busy shopping centre on the other side of the house. And the north-facing orientation of the house means the deck and grounds are sheltered from the southerly breezes.
This home and its setting are just the family environment Chris and Helen were looking for and found almost 34 years ago, and one that a new family owner should appreciate just as much in years to come.
Don't delay - Call Linda today on 06 758 3333.