From her home office window, Heather Wilson has a fine view of One Tree Hill.
So fine, in fact, that the Auckland archeologist could watch clearly when, over a decade ago, Maori activists took a chainsaw to Maungakiekie's iconic lone pine tree in an attack which led to its removal.
"I could see the whole scene unfolding, with helicopters flying overhead. So I took a roll of photos, which I will give to the museum for their records," says Heather.
A self-confessed stickler for detail, which she attributes to her archeological training, Heather had an equally analytical eye when she and husband Charles first looked through their Stoneyroyd Gardens property 17 years ago.
"It was a hell of a mess. The garden was overgrown, the front decks were falling off, most of the doors and windows were tiny and there was an ugly plastic conservatory out the back.
"But the house was extremely well built and I could immediately see the potential of the different spaces, including exactly where I would put the grand piano - even though we didn't own one at that stage."
The 1920s Californian-style bungalow was originally built in Victoria Ave, possibly by a timber merchant, but was moved to Stoneyroyd Gardens, a quiet cul-de-sac at the Meadowbank end of Remuera Rd, in the 60s.
Heather and Charles had been living in Bucklands Beach with Heather's two teenage daughters, and all four were tired of commuting so far into the city to study and work.
Stoneyroyd Gardens appealed because it is an easy bus ride into the city from the end of the street.
Also, the house, which faces north and sits at the top end of the cul-de-sac, is on a private, elevated site with views out over the Waiatarua Reserve to Karaka and across to One Tree Hill.
One look convinced Heather that this would be a perfect family home that could, in the future, accommodate the couple's grandchildren.
Their alterations over the years have included replacing pokey windows with French doors, renewing existing decks and extending the southwest-facing kitchen.
The house is anchored by a formal, tiled foyer and central stairwell that leads to the upstairs level. Living spaces on the ground level include a formal dining room that adjoins a cosy family room and kitchen - both open onto a sheltered west-facing patio that soaks up the afternoon sun.
"Whenever we have parties here, it doesn't matter how many people there are, they always congregate on the patio."
This level also includes a toilet and laundry tucked behind the central staircase, a double internal access garage and a large formal lounge that runs down the eastern side of the house.
This elegant room steps out onto a deck that leads down to an immaculate lawn, garden and spa pool area, as well as a secret lower garden full of whimsical animal statues for the grandchildren.
Beautiful original leadlight doors in the dining and living rooms have been matched with leadlight windows in these rooms, which are perfect spaces to showcase Heather's antiques.
Upstairs, four generous double bedrooms - including one that Heather uses as her home office - open off a landing large enough to double as a third living space.
The master bedroom includes an en suite, and the main bathroom and a separate toilet are also on this level.
Now that their grandchildren are getting older, the Wilsons are ready for a change, which includes renovating a house at Muriwai on 4ha of land.