There's always been something special about Parnell for Sally Fairbairn. She grew up in the inner-city suburb and other than periods overseas or elsewhere in New Zealand, she's always lived there.
So when she and husband Charles, originally from Christchurch, were house-hunting in Auckland 10 years ago, Sally was instinctively drawn to Parnell.
And when they went to see an elegant 1940s home in a quiet cul-de-sac, they knew they'd found the perfect place.
"It was on a quarter-acre section, it was so quiet and it got all-day sun — it was just ideal," says Sally.
The stucco home faces north and is slightly elevated, with views across to Hobson Bay and Rangitoto. Expansive decks on two sides of the house make the most of the outlook and the sunshine.
"You can see so much, but it still feels very private and secluded," says Sally. "And it's so peaceful — all you can hear are the birds."
"It's a real haven," adds Charles. "You forget how close you are to Parnell Rd."
The garden has resort-style landscaping, with an abundance of palm trees, dragon trees and flourishing cycads.
There are also several fruit trees, including feijoas, lemons and plums, along with flat lawns that have been perfect for the couple's daughters Bella and Lulu to run around on.
"The garden has been great for Christmas and parties," says Charles. "We once had a kids' party here with Shetland ponies on the lawn. There was plenty of room — the kids had a ball."
Just as the garden is configured into a series ofoutdoor rooms, made up of the decks, lawns and a paved area, inside there is also the choice of multiple living areas to use for different purposes.
The main living room features a striking gas fireplace that doesn't get used much because a gas central heating system put in by previous owners — a Canadian couple — does a fantastic job of keeping the home toasty warm.
Next to it is a sunroom, with French doors out to the deck, which gets very warm when the sun pours in.
Also opening out to the deck is a room adjacent to the sunroom that over the years has been a playroom, a study and is now a TV room. Most of the living spaces have large windows to allow the light in, and open out to the deck.
The exception is the dining room, which is a smaller, more vibrant space. Unlike the rest of the house, which features crisp white walls paired with either dark-stained wooden floors or dark grey carpet, the dining room is painted a lively shade of green.
"The colour is called Fun Green, and it is the colour I had in my playroom growing up," says Sally. "I really love it."
She was determined to use it somewhere in the house; Charles vetoed it for the living room but it works perfectly in the dining room.
Other splashes of colour are added throughout the house courtesy of bright blinds from Madder and Rouge. The dining room and the master bedroom, however, have stylish white plantation shutters.
Charles and Sally's bedroom is extremely generous, while Bella and Lulu's bedrooms are also spacious.
There is garaging for two cars, but also plenty of off-street parking. Cars can be left at home much of the time — it is an easy walk from the house to Parnell, Newmarket and the Auckland Domain.
The house is the only home the girls, aged 9 and 7, have ever known, and has been a brilliant place to raise a family, say Sally and Charles. But now they are venturing out of their comfort zone to move closer to the girls' school.
"Time for a new adventure!" says Sally.