Balmoral Intermediate student Sophia Mangham's story is a beautiful recollection of a heritage home.
The villa speaks to me, a low deep voice calling me closer. Dappled colours surround the house, the flowers flourish and it holds its head high, reaching to the heavens. The birds above me sing their sweet song, a lullaby to my ears. Footsteps echoing on these streets, a head looking down, eyes on the pavement, the house watches as they walk. The front veranda creaks as I step up onto it, a hundred years built into these walls, their conversations embedded in the structure, their voices whispering to me. I don’t know if it’s the wind in my hair or the tingles in my hands but the house feels magical, it emits a glow, calling me closer. I look up and marvel in its beauty, from the dainty fretwork to the stained brick chimney, it feels like home. Looking down the street I see a dozen houses almost identical to this one, magical charm divulging from the walls. I close my eyes and imagine the happy families sitting inside, each house carrying a story of it’s own. Every line of this house, every curve, holds memories. The villa is an extraordinary house, it brings Victorian architecture to New Zealand and is built with love. When you first look at the house you see the magnificent veranda, welcoming you in. Then your eyes travel to the elegant bay windows, and lush lawn. I step up to the front door, the stained glass reflects rainbows of light, fragments dancing around the garden.
I open the door and light floods the house, the warm undertones and aged kauri makes the house feel like a home. My feet touch the floor, pressing against the wood, the house creaks with every step I take. I place my hand on the wall, brushing against it as I walk. The smooth plaster runs between my fingers. My feet hit carpet and I find myself in the living room, a camel-coloured sofa sits below two picture windows. I look outside and see not just a driveway, but an entrance, covered with leafy greens, and a lonely palm tree that makes me feel as though I'm at the beach. The living room chairs all face inwards towards a glass coffee table, sitting upon a rug. A circular chandelier makes the house feel more modern, striving not to be left behind. An original fireplace heats the room. I can imagine people sitting around it, snuggling to keep warm. The roof slants down where an extension was added, and a wooden cabinet and desk sit against the wall. The villa was built in 1920, over a century ago, and since then many families have walked within these walls. It’s the big brother to the cottages that came before. Over the years changes have been made but the bones remain the same.
I retrace my steps and head back out the front door, saying goodbye to the house I have always known. I walk across the eggshell blue veranda and hop down the steps one by one. A bright red bougainvillea brushes my hair, a single petal falling on my cheek. I step onto the brick path, and walk towards the picket fence. An aroma of flowers swirls around me as I leave. I open the gate and walk out of the garden, turning around to admire the house once more. The corrugated iron roof hangs over the house like a hat. Outside I hear the tui chirping noisily above me, drinking the nectar of the cherry blossom. I walk down the footpath, the bright blue sky leading the way, I can feel the house’s eyes watching me, every step I take.