Teenagers Katherine, Olivia and James Hay each have their favourite spot in their parents' Remuera home.
James' is a large downstairs area, originally a ballroom when the return veranda villa was built in 1885 and now the younger family members' room accessing the heated outdoor pool.
"He's usually got the laptop in here or the Xbox," says mum Annemarie.
Olivia's is her bedroom with en suite in the part of the home which once housed the servants' quarters.
Now at Otago University and flatting, Olivia loves the luxury of having a bathroom to herself when she comes home for a visit. And Katherine's spot is by the pool, with friends, working on a tan.
This snapshot of family life was uppermost in the minds of their parents Robert and Annemarie when they bought here five years ago.
The Hays had returned from Australia, renting while they looked for a base so the children could attend the same school as their Remuera-based cousins.
Annemarie has always liked period homes. In Sydney they lived in Federation properties. "I like the high ceilings and the large windows," she says.
They have made improvements to this solid kauri home to bring in more natural light and open up spaces for easy modern family living.
"It's now warm and cosy, light and bright," she says.
When they retiled the roof, replacing those from the late-1800s, both the roof and ceilings were made a uniform height with skylights added in bathrooms, above the stairs and in the walk-in wardrobe. They replaced floorboards where needed, installed radiators for heating, insulated walls and under-floor areas and replaced wiring. Bathrooms and laundry were updated and a new kitchen showcases the talents of designer Michele Bennett and builder Cameron Ireland.
The villa's wide hallway from the front entrance opens to the lounge on the right and formal dining on the left. The master bedroom (with en suite and walk-in wardrobe) and the open-plan family room with kitchen both open to the return veranda along the back of the house, with its valley views.
"We find this area peaceful. We sit on the veranda and have our breakfast," says Annemarie. "We can see the sea from here."
Stairs off the hallway lead to Olivia's mezzanine level bedroom, and then further down to two more bedrooms, a bathroom and the large room which the children have claimed, calling it simply "downstairs". A double garage with internal entry is on this level, with a separate garage on the section.
At the front of the house, the landscaped garden incorporates a water feature, totara columns and hedging. "It's soothing having the greenery at the front," says Annemarie.
At the back of the section are the pool and spa with outside fire, flanked by a sandstone patio where pots of agapanthus pick up the colour of the pool tiles.
The family have enjoyed their home, but with their daughters at university and their son in his final years at high school, Annemarie and Robert say it's time to sell and downsize.
Annemarie hopes another family will enjoy living here. "It's a perfect family home because it takes them right through to their teens."