It was the windows that did it. When Tahei Simpson and her husband Charl Hirschfeld chanced upon the open home at 63 Milton Rd seven years ago, they knew they wanted to buy the house before they even walked in the front door, thanks to the stunning arched windows.
"We just loved it at first sight," recalls Tahei. "It was the features like the windows, the symmetry of the gables ... and the fact that it looked like a Chapman-Taylor style house. It was perfect."
The couple had been living in an apartment, and with one daughter and another on the way, were looking for a family home. They were actually on their way to an open home across the road when they spotted number 63, which was also for sale. "We loved it from the outside, but once we had looked inside, that was it for us," says Tahei.
The house was built from heart rimu in 1936 and it is believed to have originally been a manse, which would explain features like the seat built into the front porch, where parishioners would wait to see the vicar. High ceilings and wooden architraves give the house an abundance of character. Tahei and Charl were delighted that the house still had all these period details, and over the years have invested in antique furniture to complement them.
Previous owners had carried out renovations, including extending the rear of the house, pushing out the back wall to create extra space for a new kitchen. They also made over the bathroom, putting in a slate floor, sunken bath and large picture window.
The work Tahei and Charl have done on the house is not immediately obvious. "We've worked on the integrity of the house," says Tahei, "doing things like insulating it and improving the heating."
As well as a fireplace and central heating, the house also has two heat pumps and extra insulation. They also had all the joinery in the windows refurbished, hiring a tradesman who painstakingly fixed or replaced all the wooden parts, which were starting to show theirage.
The house mostly looks like it did when the couple first fell it love with it seven years ago. The front door opens on to a central hallway, with the three bedrooms off to the right, the bathroom at the end and the living room, dining room and kitchen - which all flow into each other - on the left. French doors from the kitchen open out on to a covered rear deck and the private back garden. A laundry and second toilet can be accessed from the deck. In the hallway, a door conceals a staircase that leads to a hidden room in the attic.
Charl and Tahei now have three children, and 63 Milton Rd has been a great place to raise them. However, the family has now outgrown the house. Finding something that's bigger yet comparable in style to their current one is going to be a big ask. "It's going to be really hard to find another house we love as much as this one," says Tahei. "It's a really special place."