The Post family spent nearly six years looking for an Auckland house they'd be happy to live in when they returned to New Zealand - no easy feat as they were living in London all that time.
British-born Stephanie and Dutch-born Sjoerd had lived in Wellington until 1998, when they moved to England for Sjoerd's work. But the couple knew they would eventually resettle in New Zealand, so they started house-hunting during their annual holidays here with daughters Manon, 15, and Mimi, 13.
"We got to know the real estate agents very well," jokes Stephanie, who looked at scores of houses before being enchanted by the gentle grace of this 1920s transitional villa.
The house's sunny aspect, excellent living spaces, indoor-outdoor flow and elevated site all appealed. She loved its generous proportions, including a 4.5m stud in the main living spaces.
At the top of Lucerne Rd and just a few minutes' walk from the Upland Rd shops, the villa has an elegant return veranda looking east over houses in the streets below.
"You open the front door and see sky and rooftops. So many villas feel closed in, but in this house you feel as though you have air and space."
The sense of spaciousness begins when you walk through the front door into a wide hallway to a large open-plan living area.
This generous space includes a large family living and dining room with a window seat looking over the garden, and an enviably large modern kitchen with generous bench spaces, cupboards, drawers and a big pantry.
Bifold windows can be opened out on hot days to give the feeling that you are almost living in the sheltered garden. French doors open from the living room to a wide, level deck with plenty of room for outdoor dining and a barbecue.
From the deck, the level lawn leads out to a swimming pool encircled by mature shrubs and ornamental trees that give it complete privacy.
Stephanie says the open-plan living room and kitchen work brilliantly as there is enough space for everyone to do their own thing but also be together. "The girls can be watching TV or on their laptops while I am cooking dinner. It's much nicer than having a separate area that is miles away from the hub of the house."
For privacy, they can head to a separate second living room off the hall which is large enough for a desk and opens to the veranda.
All three bedrooms open off the hall, and the girls' rooms have French doors, one opening to the veranda and the other to a deck. A large laundry and the kitchen open on to this deck, which traps the morning sun.
The Posts will miss their delightful family home, but they've seized the chance to buy a house nearby they've long admired.By Jane Loudon