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The Perfect Open Home
Ever wondered what a top real estate agent’s house looks like? Then look no further than the stunning light-flooded home created by Karen Franklin and her partner Nigel Varey near Big Manly Beach on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula. Nigel is a commercial estate agent and Karen is one of Harcourt’s top sales people specialising in the residential sector. Their aim was to create a light and airy space to suit their needs now that their children have almost flown the nest. Although they were downsizing, they were keen to have enough room for Karen’s teenage daughter, cat Cleetis and for their family and friends to visit.

Nigel bought the land some years ago with a cottage on site which was rented out. When they achieved the sale of their large modernised 1970s house a couple of streets over, the cottage was sold and removed intact, leaving the land ready to be built on with plans and consents already in place.

Let There Be Light
Karen was the driving force behind the design of the house, drawing on all the accumulated knowledge and wisdom of her successful career as a leading estate agent. It’s her belief that the crucial factor in the appeal of a house’s design doesn’t lie in perfect bathrooms and kitchen. This, to her, is a common misconception made by many people looking to sell their houses. For her, it’s much more about getting the indoor/outdoor flow right, ensuring that the inside area blends effortlessly with the exterior. With this in mind, what has been created is a light, airy, open space where each room flows seamlessly into its outside area and where modern, sleek, clean lines blend the beautiful outdoors with the contemporary indoor space. The whole concept is suffused with light, pouring through doors and windows from the FIRST®APL suite of joinery.

Windowmakers Bringing the Design to Life
A friend of the couple had recommended Windowmakers as having the necessary in-depth expertise to work with the builders, Progressive Construction, on refining the original design measurements. Paul Keen of Windowmakers acted as Project Manager interpreting Karen and Nigel’s developing design ideas and liaising with the builders.
A vast customised Glass Hinged Door with digital access from the FIRST® APL Architectural Series leads into an open plan light-filled area containing a kitchen, dining room, lounge and family room.

Three enormous aluminium panel backing sliding doors from the FIRST® APL Architectural Series open onto a comfortable outdoor dining area with barbecue. Two more panel backing sliding doors open out onto the front of the house. The whole space is ideal for entertaining family and friends throughout the seasons with a centrepiece state of the art kitchen.

Lighting the Way
One of the master bedrooms with its own en suite bathroom is located on the ground floor and it too has sliding glass doors opening out onto a private outdoor seating area, perfect for a lazy Sunday breakfast while reading the papers. Wooden stairs lead up to more bedrooms, one with en suite, and one converted into a double office. Another desk has been installed on the wide landing which is bathed with light from perfectly placed windows from the FIRST® APL Metro Series.

The house has a fashionable taupe cladding which perfectly complements the custom-made aluminium windows and doors – there is even a bespoke cat-flap, specially designed for Cleetis the cat. Karen and Nigel have succeeded in crafting a corner of paradise, inundated with light from every angle, where interior and exterior merge harmoniously, creating an exceptionally valuable piece of prime real estate.

Windows and Doors 
Aluminium sliding doors from FIRST® Architectural Series 
Aluminium windows from FIRST® Residential Series 
Front door - Glass Hinged Door from the FIRST® APL Architectural Series 
Silver Pearl powder coat finish 
The URBO® range of door and window hardware offers clean shapes with a stylish combination of square and radiused edges. 

Builder: Progressive Construction 2012 Ltd 
Joinery: Windowmakers Ltd