This home truly is their castle
March 2024

This home truly is their castle

In 1992, after Denise and Greg Powell bought a 13 hectare Portobello bare block overlooking Otago Harbour, they didn’t think they’d spend the next 30 years in medieval mode.

Making plans to build on the picturesque though hilly property took an interesting turn when they acquired three-metre-high doors no longer required by the parish of the old Beaumont Catholic Church, as Denise explains.

“Greg bought these huge doors and we decided we needed to use them in our new house, except to make that work we needed to change the plans and extend the height of the walls.”

LRC Aut 24 - Portobello - Image 1

By now on their third set of plans, the couple went all out, with the doors becoming a central feature. 

“We hadn’t decided on cladding at that point, though with these doors, going for recycled brick was the only option. We also abandoned the traditional roofline we had planned, taking the roof higher and making the two corners at the left and right of the front taller.” 

After that, going all in and adding battlements was a must to complete the castle look.

“Basically, a rectangular house and reasonably conventional inside; with no dungeon for instance, it looks much older than it is, and when we tell them, people can’t believe we built it in the 90s. 

“We’ve had plenty of fun with it, with medieval themed Christmases, birthdays and parties. Friends always have ideas of gifts: ‘they have a castle, we’ll give them a sword!’ We’ve also picked up some interesting features, with a couple of sets of chandeliers in particular. Some friends suggested a suit of armour, and you can find them online, though they are heavy and difficult to freight so we haven’t quite gone that far,” says Denise. 

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Which is now a step that a new owner may wish to take, since Denise and Greg have decided to sell, putting the property in the hands of Craig Bates and Paul Thomson of PGG Wrightson Real Estate, Dunedin. While the mediaeval theme is eye-catching, Craig says the ‘castle’ is also a special place to live. 

“Tucked away in a sheltered setting, providing panoramic views across the harbour beyond Portobello and Port Chalmers, this is an exclusive, private, and peaceful spot. 

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“One of the property’s many features is the fantastic panoramic harbour views from both living areas, as well as from the large sheltered entertaining deck that wraps around the front of the house, allowing for magnificent indoor-outdoor flow with tremendous access through the double opening doors. 

“Double glazed and with two wood burners in the living room and lounge, the home is nestled among mature gardens, with surrounding areas planted in pinus, macrocarpa and gum, plus small paddocks for livestock or pets,” says Craig. 

Aptly embodying the saying ‘my home is my castle,’ the Gaelic name given to the property, Tir Na Nog, is a mythical enchanted isle off Ireland’s west coast, where everyone is young and beautiful and there is no illness or unhappiness.

Explore similar articles in our most recent edition of the Lifestyle & Residential Collection.

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