Buying guide

Belmont beauty: a testament to 20th century brickwork

This elegant 20th century home's latest owners have made it a home for a modern family.

The families who’ve lived in this beautiful character Belmont villa, built in 1904, have made improvements over the years that leave the next owners of this North Shore home with very little to do. 

The current owners, Leigh and Mark Ryland, have a photo of the Englishman, Joseph Bayes, who built the house on Eversleigh Road, proudly standing in front of the newly completed brick villa. In the 1990s, the owner at the time, who built swimming pools for a living, put in the pool. And, over the last 20 years, the Rylands have made a number of improvements to the home where they’ve raised their three children.

Working with local architectural designer Phil Mason, the couple, who are high flyers in the fund management industry, extended the villa to 200 sq m, adding a light airy new main bedroom opening out onto the decking, overlooking the pool. Over the years, they’ve also given the four bedroom, two bathroom home a new kitchen and bathrooms. They kept and updated the home’s original cast iron bath and it sits in pride of place in the en-suite bathroom. “It took six guys to move it in and out,” laughs Leigh. 

The interior colours throughout the home, meanwhile, are right on-trend, in mint greens, greys and whites, with lots of amber lighting. 

The current owners have also worked hard on the garden on the 700 sq m site. They used a landscaper for the decking around the pool and they’ve planted lush hedges at the front and back to add privacy.

The result is a property with distinct curb appeal. The brick villa with cream wrought iron lacework and classy black and glass door, is reminiscent of the kind of home you’d see in a smart Melbourne suburb.   

One of the villa's best features is the indoor-outdoor flow once you kick back the bi-fold doors, says Leigh. 

“It's a great place for a party,” adds the mother of three grown children ruefully. 

The home, thankfully,has two spacious living rooms. “It’s been a beautiful house to live in. We’ve had our area and the kids have had theirs,” says Leigh. 

The walls of the home are double brick and, thanks to this, it’s an easy home to heat, despite the high ceilings, which are such a feature of this characterful turn-of-the century villa. There’s underfloor heating in the kitchen, bathroom and gas fires for winter, and it’s nice and cool in summer, with plenty of airflow thanks to the bi-fold doors, says the owner. 

Belmont, which is close to Devonport, is popular with families who like to be that bit closer to town, and for their kids to be able to walk to the excellent local schools, such as Belmont Intermediate, Takapuna Grammar, Belmont Primary and Hauraki Primary. 

“The great thing about the area is that, as the kids grow up, you can let them loose and they can do an awful lot themselves,” says Leigh.

Eversleigh Road in Belmont is a very friendly neighbourhood, with the popular Daily Bread cafe nearby, says the vendor. During Covid everyone was out walking, she remembers. “You could go to Takapuna Grammar and stare off from the cliff out to sea,” she says. And Northboro Reserve is another great spot for families.

Prestige Real Estate agent Michael Tromp, who has sold the Rylands, a lifestyle property in Kaukapakapa, says around 50 groups went through the Belmont house on the first weekend of open homes. Everyone's wondering what it will sell for when it goes to auction on October 31, because there isn’t anything comparable to the villa nearby. 

“If it were in Devonport, you’d add another million dollars or two, for such a similar high-spec house,” he says. And yet it’s closer to the motorway and to the CBD. 

Leigh is hoping the property will sell to another family and is confident the home has plenty more life in it for the next 100 years. 


Gill South
Gill South