Auckland mansion

PHOTO: Sally Ridge with her daughter Jaime renovated another house in Herne Bay, a rundown boarding house on Ardmore Road, for the 2012 reality TV show The Ridges. Photo / Instagram

According to ONEROOF reality TV star, turned real estate agent Sally Ridge is embarking on one of her biggest renovations yet – the restoration of a multi-million dollar-mansion in New Zealand’s wealthiest suburb.

Records show Ridge, with partner Scott Fitchett, founder and managing director of AA Smartfuel, bought the rundown 1920s Arts and Crafts mansion in Auckland’s Herne Bay at the end of last year for $4.9 million – well below its $6m CV.

The Herne Bay mansion that Ridge bought with her partner last year. Photo / Supplied

The Herne Bay mansion that Sally Ridge bought with her partner last year. Photo / Supplied

Ridge told OneRoof that the couple had looked at the property when it was on the market a year ago, but didn’t buy then.

“We ended up buying it a year later. We’re very excited, I haven’t renovated for some time – just little bits and pieces.

“I love renovating,” she said of the house that had been on and off the market a handful of times since late 2020, and was billed as a “project with opportunity”.

The house, which has been held by the same owner for over 30 years, definitely fell in the “before” category for the television designer.

Other than a new downstairs bathroom, listing images of the three-bedroom property show it appears not to have been touched since the 1980s or 1990s. The home had a dated kitchen, modern timber ceilings and doors, with few of the original interior details evident.

Ridge said the house needed “a big bit of love”, which she plans to change from its mixture of eras and details (a “not anything-house, not a villa”) to a modern home, with lots of white, tasteful marble and parquet floors, enlarging it to a five-bedroom house, each ensuite, with multiple living areas.

The house has a rare 1315sqm site, a grand staircase, original shingled exterior and some original fireplaces – plus coveted views of the Waitemata Harbour from the upper floors – so there is more than enough potential to fuel Ridge’s creativity.

Progress appears swift, according to the Instagram account Ridge launched last week to document the makeover. Already the builders have stripped out a bathroom, and the dated 1980s kitchen, gutted the master suite, pulled off the rear decks and begun rebuilding a master suite, complete with an ensuite and walk-in wardrobe.

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Ridge told OneRoof she made a last-minute change to the kitchen location last week before plans are filed with Auckland Council for resource and building consents. The couple aim to be in the finished house by Christmas.