Margaret Buchan hadn't even crossed the threshold when she fell under the spell of this Arts and Crafts home.
"I stood at the top of the drive and said, 'Wow!'," she says.
That was three and a half years ago, and the house's old school charms are still powerful.
Margaret and her husband, Bruce, had been living in a more contemporary Remuera property when they felt the itch to move. They were conscious their four children would soon be leaving the nest, so they wanted a change. Margaret nipped round to see this home on her husband's recommendation after helping out at the annual fair at Cornwall Park School, where she is bursar.
She was struck by the three-storey house's impressive bearing and distinctive character.
Thought to have been built around 1920, the house is just up the road from Little Rangitoto Reserve and its playground, tucked away from Upland Rd's thoroughfare down a drive, off a little "slip road".
On approach, you can see why Margaret was so bewitched: there's the gentle classicalism of the terraced front grounds, with the restored brick-edged paths complementing handsome heritage detailing. The shingled front bay window harbours some of the many leadlights while an arched entry announces an inglenook style with benches.
The couple have significantly upgraded the home with a new kitchen and bathrooms, gas central heating and revised decor.
"We did quite a bit of renovation but were very conscious that it needed to be sympathetic to the era of the home," Margaret says.
An old plan of the property shows it was built for J N Shackelford, Esquire as part of Upland Estate. The entrance foyer displays its provenance with an Arts and Crafts staircase. A chandelier twinkling above polished rimu floors is echoed by a smaller version in the powder room.
Margaret says the home's line-up of formal living-dining, casual living-dining-kitchen and big deck caters for lots of different situations.
"It's a lovely house for entertaining" she says, leading the way into the formal dining room-lounge with impressive black-hued period fireplace. "We've had fabulous winter dinner parties in here with the fire blazing."
There's a more casual atmosphere in the rear kitchen-dining-family room, which has a second fireplace and opens to the deck. The designer kitchen with composite benches, Blanco ceramic sinks and graceful handle-ware melds polished functionality with character aesthetics. Siamese cats Kahn and Miss B lap water from their crystal bowl unconcerned by extras such as under-lit cabinetry, a deep crockery cabinet and a servery window out to the deck.
"Barbecues on the deck are fantastic, out there with a few friends and a nice glass of wine, admiring the beautiful sunsets."
Bruce is fond of soaking up afternoon sun as it tracks over the Sky Tower and the Museum before blazing farewell near Mt Hobson. The west-facing deck overlooks a backyard swimming pool near a potager vegetable garden and seating under a cherry tree.
Upstairs, two good-size bedrooms complement the impeccable family bathroom with deep, freestanding bathtub. Choose from rain-shower or normal showerheads in the en suite of the big master bedroom with walk-in wardrobe.
The self-contained apartment downstairs could suit guests, renters or older children such as the Buchan's youngest son, Andrew, who's enjoyed it on breaks from medical school in Australia. As well as its own entrance and lounge-dining-kitchen area, it has a bedroom, study nook and a bathroom-laundry. The property's single rear carport is bolstered by three dedicated off-street parking spots, with additional parking down the drive.
The Buchans envisaged staying here a while but have been prompted to sell by a perfect lock-up-and-leave property nearby, which will allow them to spend more time at their holiday home.