Sentiment plays a big part in buying houses and it was certainly a factor for Craig and Rachel Spillane.

The couple say the staircase sold them on the house. "One of the things we loved was the big, grand staircase because we wanted our daughter to have her first ball and pre-ball and come down those stairs," says Craig.

He adds: "We saw the house on a Wednesday and it was going to auction but we made an offer on the Friday and owned it on Saturday."

That vision for their daughter, Courtney, became a reality, and the home has played a big part in other gatherings and celebrations.


Down a right of way, the elevated brick and weatherboard home is surrounded by mature trees, including pohutukawa.

Craig says: "It's quite high up here so you are in a beautiful oasis back from the street with lots of birdlife."

Another impressive staircase - in brick - takes you up to the front door.

"It reminded me of something from Narnia when we moved in," says Rachel, of their home of 10 years that is rumoured to have been the residence of the Dutch Consulate General before the property was subdivided.

Inside, the 1930s home has two lounges with character features such as plaster ceilings, metal-framed windows and ornate fireplaces.

One of the lounges was used as a dining room and this opens out to a patio with open fire.

The adjoining open plan kitchen/family room opens out to a covered outdoor entertaining area and the swimming pool, which is surrounded by layered garden beds with clipped hedges and topiaried trees.

"It's been great to have this swimming pool area for the kids to enjoy in summer," says Craig.

"When Courtney and her Dio friends finished school they all jumped in the swimming pool in their uniforms and acted like idiots."

Her brother, Tom, a keen musician, has made use of the pool house, which has been set up for band practice and acts as a media room.

"It's got a drop-down electric screen as well as a THX surround sound system so the kids can watch their movies, do teenage stuff out here or just hang," says Craig.

With a bathroom and kitchenette, the pool house could be used for guests or rented out.

Outside the pool house is one of Craig's favourite spots: a table setting where he can enjoy a view west to the Waitakeres and watch the sun set.

Craig says the rock excavated to accommodate the in-ground pool has been used around the property for walls and garden beds.

It adds to the permanence of the home, which also has a massive garage with a high stud that could accommodate a good-sized boat.

"For the car enthusiast or car restorer this would be a great space," says Craig.

On the ground floor of the house there are three bedrooms, with the master at the front of the house having an en suite and opening out to a west-facing deck. One of the downstairs bedrooms has been set up as an office.

"There are lots of options with what you can do with all the rooms in this house," says Craig.

"We have a lot of people from outside Auckland come to visit and it's a good base because it is so central. During the Rugby World Cup we had 100 people here most weekends - people from France, England and Ireland."

The previous owners added the upstairs level, which has three more bedrooms and a bathroom and here you feel you are right in the treetops.

Just as the extension and updates are subtle, so is the technology that makes this home comfortable with a home automation system, central heating, irrigation and outdoor lighting.

With Courtney at university in Wellington and Tom about to go to Canterbury to study engineering, Craig and Rachel have decided to try apartment living.

"They are off so we are going to change things up," says Craig.

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