By PHILIP CHANDLER
Few Queenstown homes have the charm and character of one currently on the market in Kelvin Heights’ Balmoral Drive.
It was built in the early ‘90s by Arrowtown-based architectural designer Erwin ‘Strauss’ Steck in the style of a French chalet for his New Caledonia-based client, Marianne Montagnat.
In ‘99, it was bought by today’s owners, Kyra and Eion Orr — then based in Dunedin, they’d been looking for a larger holiday home than one they owned nearby.
Five years later, they moved in permanently.
Eion says they liked the fact it had a separate guest house for family and friends to stay in.
The couple put in an impressive dry garden and then, on separately-titled land, built a garage with a three metre-high stud.
‘‘It was built for our boat and our caravan — a bit over the top, I suppose, but it’s good.’’
As you’d expect, views from the property are spectacular.
‘‘From the kitchen I can see Cardrona,’’ Kyra says.
Distinctive interior features include wooden beams, mainly matai but also Ironbark, timber floors, schist stone walls, arches, an open wood fire and two living areas, the upper one with a balcony.
The home’s been left unchanged, Kyra says, ‘‘because otherwise it would just lose its character’’.
‘‘You sort of can’t damage it.’’
Eion says he’ll most miss the parties they’ve hosted.
Kyra: ‘‘It’s fabulous when you entertain in winter, at night, with the fire roaring and petanque on the flood-lit court outside.’’
There’s also a commercial heating system including a 6600-litre storage tank that heats the underfloor system and radiators.
There are also two heat pumps for instant heat.
Having purchased at Arrowtown Lifestyle Retirement Village, the couple have listed their property with local New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty agents, Gerard Bligh and Hadley van Schaik.
The property’s capital valuation is $3,460,000, and the agents are taking offers over $3,350,000.
‘‘We expect it would probably sell somewhere between that and the CV,’’ Bligh says.
He describes the quality and finish of the home as ‘‘really exceptional’’.
‘‘It’s like a small luxury hotel, actually.
‘‘We’re in an alpine resort, and this is quintessential French, European, alpine charm.
‘‘The garden is fairly low-maintenance so we think it would be a great holiday home — or a permanent home.
‘‘The unique features are, one, it’s got an insane view, but, two, it’s got that enormous garage, so if you’ve got a big boat or a campervan or lots of cars, it’s really terrific.’’