This Mid-century Modern house designed by Sir Miles Warren for the Ballantyne family in Christchurch is a celebrity in its own right.
For starters, it is a perfect example of the modernism espoused by the "Christchurch School", an architectural movement that was considered highly unconventional back in the 1950s and ‘60s.
Then there's the original family it was built for – the Ballantynes started the department store of the same name that's still going strong today. Ronald Ballantyne had already called on Warren to design his magnificent new store in the city and was prepared to push the boundaries of tradition for his own family's home in Fendalton.
And more recently, there's the movie connection. Ballantyne House, as it is known, is the set for the highly anticipated Kiwi movie The Changeover, directed by Miranda Harcourt and Stuart McKenzie.
The young adult movie, based on a book by the late Margaret Mahy, has a stellar cast that includes Timothy Spall, Melanie Lynskey, Charlie Heaton and Lucy Lawless, along with local newcomer Erana James.
Owners Kristina Pickford and Michael Wolfe say they have loved living in the house, which they are now selling. They bought off the Ballantyne family eight years ago. "We fell in love with the Mid-century Modern architecture and the wonderful garden," says Pickford.
The pair have since restored it extensively. Pickford is an architectural historian and has also spent the past three years working voluntarily on getting the Centre of Contemporary Arts (COCA) reopened.
She says when the couple bought the property, it had been given a 1980s makeover that included a lot of pink paint and fake pink terracotta tiles in the entry. "There were also pink and blue carpets that dated back to that same time.
”The pair painstakingly worked to bring it back to reflect the design aesthetic the architect established back in 1959. Sir Miles Warren has since been back to see the restored house and told Home magazine: "Never has a house been so carefully and gently restored. It's beautifully done – more carefully than the original."
"Sir Miles has given us a watercolour of the house painted when it was built, and the original plans, which will be passed on to the new owners," says Pickford.
The 300 square-metre house has the concrete block and timber-framed construction that defined the Modernist school of buildings in Christchurch. It comes with a separate studio building.
"Miles describes it as being essentially Danish in character – a square consisting of a living room, dining room and kitchen, with a long bedroom wing and connecting flat-roofed entrance link.”
Pickford says she and Wolfe have bought a block of land in the Coromandel that they wish to build on, hence the sale. "But we love this place so much, if it doesn't sell, it's not the end of the world.”
The house is up for private tender, with tenders closing on September 1, if not sold before. The CV is $1.95 million.