It all began in 1860with a Kauri Sawmillin Paparoa..
The history of the Cliff family and Cliff House (as it is known as locally) dates back to their arrival in New Zealand in the 1860’s.
James Cliff built his first house in a field across the road, first it flooded and then got struck by lightning and burnt down!
Owning the General Store (to the right in the photo), and the Kauri Mill (bottom left) he decided to build on higher ground in Franklin Road in 1886, finishing in 1887.
Using only the best heart Kauri found locally, and mouldings from Auckland, the house grew, expanded and took shape.
The photo above was taken in 1956 also shows the National Bank of New Zealand, which was also constructed from Kauri in 1910 and is Grade 1 listed. Cliff House is Listed Grade 2
The home remained on the market for 18 years, and I first saw it 16 years ago, and then 16 years later I thought it had come back on the market, but it had never been sold.
I thought then it would make a great Bed and Breakfast, and having been interviewed by the family and approved to purchase it (really!) I took possession in December 2014.
The roof had leaked, there was water on the mantel piece, and the water stained scrim billowed in the wind.
Ceilings were stained and peeling and insulation, rewiring and a new kitchen and bathrooms (among other things) were needed.
“Where the hell are you going to start mate”, said a good friend who thought I had lost my sanity.
So in 2015 a new roof was put in place, and a rewire. Walls were injected, and floors and ceilings insulated. The old girl was dry and warm again, and my thoughts then turned to a hundred things.
A kitchen extension, A 3 bay garage, a garden, wallpaper, and how was I going to fill it with Antiques, having left a modern home in Auckland.
All the work was done weekends, and I left for Auckland at 5.45 AM on a Monday to earn more money to carry on, with paint under my finger nails and aches in muscles that had not been used for years.
Auction houses were my weekly entertainment, with Cordys being my go to on a Monday and Green Bay Auctions on a Wednesday, and back with the loot on a Thursday night. If it was old, Victorian, or cheap (preferably the latter) it found its way up North and slowly over 7 years it filled up.
Now as we prepare to open 8 years later, what is now called Pheasant Lodge with 5 Bathrooms (it had 1) and a complete remodel, if you do stay here.. ask me about the place..if you have time!