Interior designer and stylist Anna Begg must have a good eye, or trust her parents, as she bought her house in the growing resort town of Wanaka – deep in the heart of the lakes and mountains of New Zealand’s South Island – sight unseen.

Begg and partner Adam Baxter were planning a return to New Zealand in 2014, after Begg had been working on luxury resorts around Byron Bay. She had been scouting the online auction site Trade Me when a 1980s house caught her eye. Her parents, who had been dispatched to scout the property, reported it as dark and a sad old renter, but Begg was charmed by the bones of the house and knew she could rescue it.