Friday, 6 March 2015

A Stunning, European Inspired Home In Epsom

Last year I attended the Auckland NZ House & Garden tour, an annual event that allows us to view some of the more unique homes in our area. There were many beautiful houses on the tour, however, only one left me in a mesmerised state and a sudden desire for all things French.

This wonderful home belongs to Auckland Interior Designer, Irene Crean who six years ago bought the house at auction in an almost derelict state. Built in 1928, it previously belonged to Barrister and Historian, Ian Madden who had become somewhat reclusive in later life thus allowing the house to deteriorate to the extent it needed renovation from the ground up. When Irene first spotted the house, she saw beyond this deterioration knowing that she could restore it, not only to its former glory, but create a truly European atmosphere.

Once the main building restoration was complete, Irene was able to use her creative skills to turn this house into her own little piece of Provence, or even Tuscany, in a quiet Epsom Street. Hand finished paint techniques are used throughout the house such as on the interior shutters and wood panelling which have the look of aged timber. The timber beams in the kitchen have been distressed and lime washed to have the appearance of antique beams and the ground level, original wooden floors have been white washed using Porters paints. Irene has truly captured the essence of Europe, not only inside but also outside in her terraced garden. 

I can still hear the gentle splashes of water from an antique tap above a vintage wash basin. The basin had been cleverly converted into a fountain on the patio at the side of the house. Wandering further down to the terraces, you could see raised vegetable beds abundantly overflowing with the perfect ingredients for French cuisine. One can only imagine how wonderful it must feel to awake in the morning, sun streaming through the shutters, eat breakfast on your balcony or patio beside the kitchen, then wander down to the pool for a swim. Images don't do full justice to this wonderful home, it takes more than pictures to feel the atmosphere it pervades. The moment you enter the grand, wrought iron entrance gates you feel transported... from the crunch of the gravel below your feet to the original shutters above, you feel like you could easily be in France or Italy.

When I walked through the 300 year old door Irene had fitted into her entrance way, I remember pausing to take it all in as it was so stunningly beautiful. Each room carefully planned for its own unique purpose, whether her large office, formal living room or casual room that led out to the patio, all wonderfully styled, yet feeling like a real home... beautiful, yet lived in. I came home that day brimming with ideas, I even tried to create a little French style in my home office but somehow it wasn't the same... I had fallen in love, but sadly he was out of my reach.

Irene has spent 6 years in this home and poured her heart and soul into, however she is now yearning for a new project and this wonderful house is on the market...yes for sale! which means that you could be the owner of this beautiful home. They say "a picture paints a thousand words", in this case, they paint a glimpse into this wonderful home, but to truly feel the atmosphere, you have to be there.

More images here.

It is evident by Irene's attention to detail inside and outside her home, she is a very talented designer. Furniture alone does not create the atmosphere, it is a combination of the architecture, furnishing, soft furnishing and finishing touches that combined, create something truly special.

I wish Irene well with the auction and her next project. If anyone is seriously interested in her house, please hop over to the Barfoot website for further details. Personally, I might be purchasing myself a Lottery ticket this weekend and if I am lucky enough to win, I will definitely be at the auction on March the 21st, as I could not think of a more beautiful home to spend the rest of my life in.

Addendum: Since writing this post I have been to Irene's home and photographed it for the blog. There are over 70 photos that have not been shown previously. The post is in 5 parts and you can read and view part one; An Exclusive Tour of Auckland Interior Designer, Irene Crean, here.

Lee oxo



  1. Absolutely stunning home, Lee. Love the furniture, the beams, oh that bedroom. Am drooling...


    1. Yes Jane, I agree entirely, when you walk into it you really don't want to leave, it is beautiful and I wish I could be the lucky new owner but a little out of my price range :(.

  2. Amazing house, would love to trade up to this house, love the outdoor fire area and kitchen.


Thank you for your time to leave a comment, I ♥ to read your comments and try to reply to them all.