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This distinctive Orakei Basin home was inspired by nearby boat sheds

Article by Simply You

Indoor outdoor flow was key for this long, corridor home, which was designed to take in the spectacular view of Orakei Basin and the city skyline


This distinctive Orakei Basin home was inspired by nearby boat sheds

Distinctive, streamlined and beautiful – Julie Sayes’ family home is a landmark in the Orakei area, recognised and admired by those who both walk and drive around the basin.

But the Auckland house’s showstopping status was no mistake. The land, bought by Sayes’ father when she was born, sat idle until she and her husband cleared it and built the house in 1996.

She asked their friend and architect Ken Crosson to design a home themed around the old boat sheds on nearby Ngapipi Rd, which she had grown up with – hence the lines of the roof. “We also asked him to include a turret, which became a child’s play area. My mother’s family had a turret in Stanley Point, Devonport and my husband thought it would be nice to have one as well,” she says.

The house has three parts to it: the children’s wing (the couple have three grown-up daughters), main house with the master bedroom and study, and the garage with a self-contained flat and private entrance. Built in the volcanic crater, the property is sheltered with a northerly aspect for all-day sun. “This home has amazing indoor-outdoor living and is a fantastic party house. We can open up all the sliding doors and let guests wander in and out.”


Quick to downplay her interior style, Sayes has in fact created a calm, elegant home furnished with antiques she has both inherited and collected over the years. Pops of colour have been injected via fabrics, furniture and paint, with her choice of the Wedgewood-inspired blue in the family room/kitchen a particular favourite.

The recent addition of a new kitchen – with a sweeping view of the city and harbour – completes the pretty picture. “It’s a family home – some things are more for comfort than looks, but that’s the way I like it.”

Words by: Naomi Larkin. Photography by: Vanessa and Michael Lewis.

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