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Historic former gentlemen’s club home bought for 50 cents is placed on the market for sale

The home was originally The Gisborne Club – an erudite establishment whose roots date back to 1911, and was comprised of a membership that included many of the city’s most prominent landowners, businessmen, doctors, lawyers, and local body politicians.

The core of the Gisborne Club’s two-storey wooden building included a library, smoking room, writing room, billiard room, bar, and meeting room. Over the subsequent decades the wooden building was expanded on all sides, including the addition of two billiard and snooker rooms.

The Gisborne Club was wound up in 2003. The club’s building remained on site after it was bought by a Gisborne property development company. The club’s heritage Category B historic classification meant the core of the building had to be retained.

Seeking a new family home, and cognisant of the building’s heritage past and importance to the area, Gisborne couple Tony Robinson and Kaye Foreman bought the Gisborne Club building in 2012 for $1 – although only a 50-cent deposit was ever paid. The developer was happy that someone else was prepared to relocate the club off site at their cost.

“Kaye and I were looking for a large home for our blended family and ‘the club’, as we call it, seemed perfect. We had a vision for what it could become,” said Tony Robinson.

A mammoth relocation operation was undertaken by Hawke’s Bay house moving firm Brittens which saw the ornate Victorian building cut into five pieces, and delicately transported to its new countryside address on Gisborne’s periphery, before being reassembled in something like an episode from the TV home renovation series Grand Designs.

“We can still remember when the main upper floor was being lifted into place on the back of one of the trucks, and it began to oscillate before it was reinforced with support framing for the journey,” recalls Kaye Foreman.

Once relocated, the Gisborne Club was remodelled into a six-bedroom/two-bathroom family home on some 5,156-square metres of land.

Now the former historic gentlemen’s club home at 153 Valley Road in the Gisborne lifestyle suburb of Mangapapa is being marketed for sale by auction on 10 June through Bayleys Gisborne. Salespeople Kerry Low and Scott Hannah said the grounds around the home have been extensively landscaped - with a lake and island, an orchard, pergola, and peaceful reflection pool created.

One of the former Gisborne Club’s billiard rooms with its rimu board and batten 7.5-metre-high raked ceiling has been converted into the home’s dining room and lounge. Staying true to the building’s roots, a three-quarter sized billiard table sits in the middle of the family room. Meanwhile, the home’s front door is the Gisborne Club’s original front door with lettering and decorative edging.

A second smaller billiard hall relocated onto the end of the home provides a huge two-car garage and laundry. Its original polished kauri floorboards were reused for the main hall flooring upstairs, which has a Juliet balcony at the end of it. Each of the two levels of the home – connected by a majestic switch-back staircase - has three bedrooms.

“Many people in Gisborne will have wondered whatever happened to the former Gisborne Club all those years ago, and now the love and passion which went into remodelling the property into a family home can be seen,” said Kerry Low.

“This is a home for someone who appreciates New Zealand’s rich cultural history. There is so much heritage oozing from every pore, stained glass window, bay window, and wood panelling, yet it’s a modern and stylish family home with designer kitchen and living spaces.

“The flooring throughout looks as good now as it did when it was first sanded back and polished a decade ago – thanks to the owner’s ‘no shoes inside’ policy.

Scott Hannah said the home also included two office spaces – suitable for use as work-from-home room, or media room.

“Upstairs is a massive 80-square metre room which could be designed and modelled to become the king of all master bedrooms,” said Hannah.

“All the hard work has been lovingly done remodelling and restoring the Gisborne Club home to this stage over the past 10-years, now it’s ready for a new owner to add the final finishing touches. We’re all eagerly waiting to see what the final chapter has in store.”

Click here for more information on the listing.

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