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Original 1880s farmhouse in Auckland stands staunch against development

The original farmhouse in this part of New Windsor, Auckland remains an oasis of calm in a city rapidly intensifying its suburbs.  And it's not in bad shape for 140 years.

Jason Dorday/Stuff

The original farmhouse in this part of New Windsor, Auckland remains an oasis of calm in a city rapidly intensifying its suburbs. And it’s not in bad shape for 140 years.

With the intensification of suburbs throughout Auckland, it’s getting harder and harder to find an old villa on a full section. But there’s one 140-year-old villa in New Windsor that sits like an oasis in a crowded city.

It has been owned by the same family for just over 40 years, but the couple, now empty-nesters, are downsizing and are moving to a townhouse on Parnell Street where they first flatted as students in the 1970s. “It’s like we’re going full circle,” one of the owners, Alan, says.

The couple say they moved into the house in 1982, 100 years after it was built, and they know this because they found the builder’s signature on the back of an old skirting board a few months later when they started renovation work.

“He had written July 12, 1882, Old Smithy Builder JCS on the board, which was close to 100 years prior to the day we moved in,” Alan says. We were told that the house was one of the original farmhouses in the area. It would have been a small holding – the road was not there at that point.”

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Alan says the simple basic shape of the unadorned, sturdy house and its position on the 857m² section appealed to the couple, as did the extensive views, which take in both Auckland harbours, to the north and south.

‘My mother-in-law thought it would break us’

We were also very lucky to find a house which was in an original condition and which had not been tampered with. But it needed a lot of work – my mother-in-law thought it would break us.”

The couple replaced the totara foundation piles, and then set about renovations. “We wanted to keep the original character of the farmhouse and keep the additions to a minimum,” Alan says. “We did not want to encroach too much on the space around the existing house.”

A simple lean-to sympathetic addition to the form of the original house created space for a new kitchen with enough room for a large central dining table in keeping with traditional farmhouses. The couple also added a new laundry, bathroom, toilet and side entrance facing the road, and a double garage was added close to the road.

Mature trees and hedges provide privacy for the house that predates everything else in the suburb.

BARFOOT & THOMPSON

Mature trees and hedges provide privacy for the house that predates everything else in the suburb.

“The large kitchen dining area became the central hub of the family and indoor entertaining. The layout of the rest of the house was left unaltered.”

A long, wraparound veranda was built alongside the house following the sun. French doors were put in all the rooms to connect the house with the large rear level lawn and side yards. Hedges were planted around the boundaries for privacy and to define outdoor living spaces.

“Preserving the original plan and sunny orientation of the farmhouse has created a home that has responded well to the changing needs of our family life over the 40 years we have enjoyed living here,” Alan says. “Our children attended local schools and enjoyed playing outside in the large open spaces of the garden. We were also able to accommodate elderly relatives for a short period when they were no longer able to live alone.”

The owners, who have lived here for 40 years, are downsizing and will be moving to a street where they flatted as students in the 1970s.

BARFOOT & THOMPSON

The owners, who have lived here for 40 years, are downsizing and will be moving to a street where they flatted as students in the 1970s.

So far, the quiet immediate neighborhood has resisted the change happening in most other suburbs, and the couple say the sense of community and belonging is still strong.

But Alan says he is philosophical about what may happen to the property in the future. However, he hopes it will continue to benefit families for “generations to come”.

The property, at 8 Bentleigh Road, New Windsor, is listed with Anna Lechtchinski and Alex Wu of Barfoot & Thompson, New Lynn, and is for sale by auction on February 18, 2023. It has an RV of $1.75 million.

A new kitchen sits within an addition built in the style of a traditional lean-to.

BARFOOT & THOMPSON

A new kitchen sits within an addition built in the style of a traditional lean-to.

Wherever possible, original features have been retained.

Jason Dorday/Stuff

Wherever possible, original features have been retained.

New French doors were added to several rooms when the side veranda was built.

BARFOOT & THOMPSON

New French doors were added to several rooms when the side veranda was built.

The house has four bedrooms, two living rooms and a spacious home office.

BARFOOT & THOMPSON

The house has four bedrooms, two living rooms and a spacious home office.

The owners found the original builder's signature on the back of a skirting board when they were renovated.  It was dated July 12, 1882.

Jason Dorday/Stuff

The owners found the original builder’s signature on the back of a skirting board when they were renovated. It was dated July 12, 1882.

Ella Bates-Hermans/Stuff

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