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Vibrant and Victorian: The story behind Clarks Beach's charming historic home
If there was ever a home with a story to tell, it’s this one! Situated in Clarks Beach, Hayley and Chris love their 640 square metre Victorian beauty that sits on nine hectares of rural coastal land overlooking water on both sides.
Working in the military, the family moved regularly between domestic and international posts. But settling back in New Zealand, they wanted a rural lifestyle to raise their four children and Clarks Beach in Franklin ticked all the boxes.
“It overlooks the water and is very peaceful. It always feels like you’re on holiday when you come home which is restful when you work in very busy roles,” Hayley says. “It is a great community.”
Touches of wooden accents at the top of the house are painted in Resene Grey Friars, as well as the colour of the Marley Stratus Design Series® Stormcloud® spouting and RP80® downpipes. This dark shade of grey frames the house beautifully next to the stunning landscape.
The stunning view from the villa is perfectly framed by the Resene Half Sea Fog and Resene Grey Friars on wooden features and RP80® downpipes.
Huntly House started its life back in 1911 in Central Palmerston North. It was the first house in Palmerston North to have its own electricity supply prior to 1924.
The home was moved to another part of Palmerston North in the 1980s and Hayley and Chris were lucky enough to meet the man who owned it at that time. Thankfully he had left some cut marks in the house to remind him of his work – the exact same ones were used again for this move and the cut marks have been kept visible as part of the story of this home.
The house flowed through many lives. People are often fascinated to learn that at one point it had been used as a mechanics workshop and the cut-out for the grease pit remains in the main lounge!
Being in a coastal environment, Chris and Hayley chose durable finishes, opting exterior weatherboards painted in Resene Double Truffle and eaves in Resene Half Sea Fog and for the longevity of Marley products because they won’t rust or corrode – and the Stratus Design Series® had the Grey Friars® colour they wanted.
Some of the main features in Huntly Home are the timber staircase, exposed beams and wooden flooring which are all finished in Resene Qristal Clear polyurethane matte varnish to bring out the natural richness in the wood. The walls are painted in Resene Quarter Truffle.
The big move
The initial plan was to build a new, modern, single level dwelling on the site. This would have been simpler, faster, and cheaper than relocating a three storey, 111-year-old house.
However, Hayley and Chris were totally enamoured with Huntly House the first time they saw her and ideas of ‘what-if’ started to flow if they owned the home. As with most house purchases, they became emotionally invested in the process and did everything needed to ensure the purchase happened. But it wasn’t easy – they were number six on the buyer list so had to convince the vendor to sell the house to them.
The sale went through, and the planning phase started for moving Huntly House 500km north to Clarks Beach.
Preparing the house to move took about five days which involved removing brick chimneys, removing, and securing parts of the roof, separating three floors, removing stair banisters, removing parts of the ceiling, cutting, bracing, and labelling every single piece of timber that was removed and was intended to be reused. A big job to say the least.
Transportation of the first two smallest pieces was overnight from Palmerston North to Clarks Beach. Transportation of the larger 4 pieces took two nights. The first leg was Palmerston North to Tokoroa and then onward to Clarks Beach.
The house travelled mostly straight up State Highway 1, twisting and turning through the Desert Road and around Lake Taupo. They encountered a large house travelling in the opposite direction around Lake Taupo so had to hastily pull to the side of the road to let them pass.
Once all six pieces were on site and everyone had managed a few hours’ sleep, the work to piece everything back together on piles started the very next morning. This process took about seven days and then the detailed reconstruction started soon after that.
The renovation started, however in December 2017 the family moved to London, so they had to project manage the renovation from the other side of the world which was a challenge. Luckily, they had a great relationship with the builders – Heineke Builders Ltd.
The shift definitely added complications (of a budgetary nature) as they couldn’t do a lot of the work themselves as originally planned.
“The most exciting part about our home is seeing the vision come to life – and I don’t mean in terms of decorating choices,” Hayley says. “We always felt the home could be used as more than just our family home and likewise, our land too. In the last two years we have let the house out for music recording, short film production, yoga classes, workshops, conference space, residential workshops, birthdays, Airbnb, a sheep sale and weddings.
The stately living room is impressive with the wooden framed fireplace and flooring finished in Resene Qristal Clear polyurethane matte varnish, walls painted in Resene Quarter Truffle and trims in Resene Quarter Sea Fog.
The height of the ceiling allows the darker wood to become the main feature without cramping the space. The richness of the ceiling adds warmth to the room and is complemented by the walls in Resene Quarter Truffle.
The stately exterior
The roof and some of the wooden accents at the top of the house are painted in Resene Grey Friars and that was also the colour chosen for the Marley Stratus Design Series® Stormcloud® spouting and RP80® downpipes. The darker shade of grey frames the house beautifully.
The paths around the house are Waikato fleck pebble, created from firebricks salvaged from the fireplaces at Rahiri House, Mt Albert which were offered to Hayley when they renovated.
Though a cottage garden would have been in keeping with the style of house, it could not stand up to the coastal environment therefore natives suitable for coastal and high wind conditions have been planted.
While they could have chosen to use pressed steel spouting, like what was already on the home, with the home situated in a coastal environment they decided on the longevity of the Marley product because it won’t rust or corrode – and the Stratus Design Series® had the Grey Friars® colour they wanted. “We have used Marley products on all our building projects and love that it’s made in New Zealand,” Hayley says.
“We knew we wanted to have a neutral colour palette that would complement the environment,” Hayley says. “We started with the roof and spouting in Resene Grey Friars and the door colour, Resene Pohutukawa, and went from there.”
“We also knew we didn’t want to have white downpipes so selected Stratus RP80® in Grey Friars® to match the roof and decks and are really happy with the contrast.” The Stormcloud® profile was chosen for its clean, strong lines.
The original timber weatherboards on the villa’s stately exterior are painted in Resene Double Truffle and the eaves in Resene Half Sea Fog. The roof and some of the wooden accents at the top of the house are in Resene Grey Friars and that was also the colour chosen for the Marley Stratus Design Series® Stormcloud® spouting and RP80® downpipes. The darker shade of grey frames the house beautifully. The front door is painted in a rich New Zealand red, Resene Pohutukawa.
The beautiful interior
Hayley and Chris have re-used as much of the original timber as possible. Every piece of architrave, beading, skirting board and panelling that was removed in preparation for cutting the house, was labelled and their corresponding positions on the walls were also labelled.
“Trying to put it all back together was like a massive wasgij puzzle, but it was so worth it,” Hayley says.
Huntly House now has seven bedrooms, six bathrooms, two full kitchens and a new kitchenette, scullery and laundry. The floorplan now means the house can be split into three independent sections.
They opted for a timeless neutral colour scheme inside with walls in Resene Quarter Truffle and ceilings in Quarter Sea Fog. The main feature is the timber staircase, exposed beams and wooden flooring which are all finished in Resene Qristal Clear polyurethane matte varnish to enhance the natural richness in the wood.
The modern kitchen incorporates things like a flip top power and USB charger in the breakfast bar for convenience. The smooth white style with wooden accents looks crisp and clean.
The bathrooms have a traditional feel, one with the original clawfoot bath which they resurfaced, and the cabinet and even the copper cistern in the main bathroom are original too. These stately and elegant features pair flawlessly with the shade of Resene Quarter Truffle on the walls.
“In hindsight we probably would have clawed back some areas of the budget to put full sound proofing in-between the floors – families are noisy,” Hayley says. “Our four children are now grown, but still come home to visit with their partners when they can. We love how the house can be used in so many ways and for more than one thing at a time.”
“It feels great that we have succeeded in recreating Huntly House for our home but also for the community and others that wish to enjoy her.”
The now modern kitchen has a smooth white style with wooden accents and looks crisp and clean. The white benchtop and tiles pair perfectly with the walls in Resene Quarter Truffle, ceiling and trims in Resene Quarter Sea Fog and striking wooden features.
The main bathroom has a traditional feel, with the original clawfoot bath, cabinet and copper cistern. The walls are painted in Resene Quarter Truffle, with trims and ceiling in Resene Quarter Sea Fog. The wooden flooring is finished in Resene Qristal Clear polyurethane matte varnish.
The bedrooms have a timeless and charming feel, with walls painted in Resene Quarter Truffle and trims and ceiling in Resene Quarter Sea Fog.
There’s no denying Huntly House looks the part in the landscape. Hayley and Chris are so pleased they went with elegant Resene neutrals and the Marley Stratus Design Series® spouting and downpipes - the result is stunning, and they know their home will stand the test of time in its new coastal location.
Spouting and downpipes: Marley Stratus Design Series®
Top tip: Choose Resene Sonyx 101 waterborne semi-gloss paint for exterior weatherboards, particularly those in less than perfect condition. It is optimised to have superior toughness, durability and adhesion, combined with superb flowing good looks. The semi-gloss finish is more sympathetic to less than perfect weatherboards than a higher gloss finish.
Published: 13 Jun 2023
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Resene Quarter Truffle
Resene Double Truffle
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If you're stuck on what
colour to use or need colour
advice, try out the Resene
Ask a Colour Expert service.