When Dominic Bowden was living the high life in Los Angeles, the state of the property market back home in New Zealand was the last thing on his mind.
Before jetting to Tinseltown almost a decade ago to pursue his career in the world’s entertainment capital, our A-list Insider and the host of The Bachelor New Zealand sold his inner-city Auckland home, leaving him with a tidy sum in the bank.
“For those 10 years I was away from home, I was purely focused on my work and really making a name for myself in LA,” explains Dom, 39, who juggled gigs as a backstage presenter on Dancing with the Stars USA and a correspondent for the E! channel.
“But for ages, I had Mum and Dad in my ear, nagging me not to fall off the property ladder back home. They strongly suggested I invest in a home in Auckland.”
In 2016, while still in California, Dom finally heeded his parents’ advice and purchased a spacious two-bedroom apartment in Herne Bay, overlooking the Waitemata Harbour.
“I bought it sight unseen,” says the TV host as he opens the doors of his luxury bachelor pad to Woman’s Day. “My brother Liam and his partner Steve found it. They called me and said, ‘This place is amazing – if you don’t buy it, we will.’
“I always thought I wanted a big home with a sprawling backyard, but an apartment really suits my lifestyle. In my line of work, I’m used to hotel-hopping and living out of suitcases, so it’s always nice to come back to a home that has a very calming effect.
“I wake up each morning to the sound of the waves, walk down to the beach for a swim in summer, then come back and eat breakfast on the deck, looking out onto the water.”
Dom’s eternally grateful to Liam, the founder of luxury handbag line Deadly Ponies, not just for finding him his dream home, but also for turning the ordinary apartment into a seaside oasis.
Before Dom returned to Aotearoa last December, his design-savvy younger brother oversaw a six-month renovation, which included a new kitchen and bathroom.
“I would get calls from Mum telling me how they’d spent their entire weekend choosing my colour palette and driving all over Auckland looking for door handles.”
The debt owed to them feels almost “insurmountable”, but the star is doing his best to repay the favour by treating Liam to lots of home-cooked meals and movie nights in front of his 50-inch TV – which even Dom agrees is a tad too big.
However, it’s not just family members who Dom is entertaining in his impressive abode. The eligible single – who confesses he’s keen to find that special someone – says his apartment is perfect for a cosy date night.
“For a while, you’d open my fridge to find a few beers and last night’s Thai takeaways, but now I’m really house-proud and love entertaining at mine,” tells Dom.
“If I had someone special over, I’d start with a delicious dinner – maybe give my Mediterranean fettuccine a whirl – and end the night curled up watching a movie.
“For the first time in a long time, it feels like I have my own home and the thought of sharing that with someone one day is kind of exciting.”