Back in the early 2000s, Viv Quinn was on a business trip to Auckland when she found herself outside the Metropolis apartment building in the city centre. The new skyscraper, incorporating the former Magistrates Court building that dates back to 1908, had already become part of Auckland's skyline.
"I looked up at it and thought, 'Wow, what a fabulous building'," recalls Viv, who was then living in Wellington. "I had no idea then that I would end up living in it."
When Viv and her husband Paul moved to Auckland for work four years ago, they were keen to reside in the heart of the city, as they had done in Wellington.
"We're city people, we love being close to everything," says Viv.
"We were also keen to avoid having to sit in traffic," says Paul. "We wanted to be close to work."
Their search took them to the Metropolis building Viv had admired all those years earlier, and a penthouse on the 37th floor. It had been used as offices and was basically a shell.
But the Quinns, who had renovated previous homes, could see the potential.
"You could tell it was pretty special," says Paul. "We liked the size — it's 240sq m, so bigger than a lot of places. And it was northwest facing with fantastic views. You can see the harbour, right out past Takapuna Beach, the city, the Sky Tower — you can even see down to south Auckland."
The space has been transformed into a three-bedroom luxury apartment that oozes sophistication. As well as the generous floor size, the 3m stud also gives a feeling of spaciousness.
Every room in the apartment, except the powder room, gets to enjoy the spectacular outlook and the most has been made of the view thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows, even in the bathrooms, where the glass is frosted to chest height for modesty's sake.
A curved wall of windows in the living room frames the view perfectly, and Viv and Paul have positioned chairs in front of it so they can sit and enjoy the panorama.
The open plan living, dining and kitchen features an eye-catching circular ceiling tray with a chandelier, and a stylish built-in china cabinet to display the couple's collection of crystal.
The sleek white designer Fyfe kitchen was built to their exact specifications. It has a floating island, separate scullery, oodles of storage and top class appliances by Wolf, Miele and Gaggenau. There's even a dedicated area for making cups of tea and coffee.
"We put a lot of time and thought into how the kitchen would work," says Viv. "There is so much storage space, and it is wonderful to cook in."
Unlike many apartments, where laundries consist of a washing machine and drier tucked into a cupboard, this apartment has a separate room that not only houses the appliances and a drying cabinet, but also doubles as a generous storage space.
There are three large bedrooms and a small office that has a built-in desk and shelving.
One of the bedrooms, which comes with a study area, also doubles as a media room. The master bedroom has a large walk-in wardrobe, and clever use of wood-panelling on one bedroom wall ties the space into the similar coloured tiles in the elegant en suite bathroom next door.
This bedroom opens out to a large terrace that has a breathtaking outlook. The Quinns spend a lot of time out there, watching over the city. They have a ringside seat for occasions when fireworks are let off from the Sky Tower. "It's pretty spectacular," says
Benefits of living at the Metropolis include the use of the gym, sauna and 22m swimming pool. Security is excellent, and there is parking for two cars, which don't often get used because it is so easy to walk everywhere.
"You can walk to theatres, the art gallery, library, shops, cafes, restaurants… it's all right there," says Paul.
Nearby Freyberg Square and O'Connell St have undergone refurbishments and with Albert Park across the road and Chancery Lane a few steps away, it feels as if you are in a world-class cosmopolitan city.
After three and a half years here, the Quinns are moving on because their teenager and his visiting friends need more space.
"But we will miss the Metropolis — it has been wonderful living here," says Viv.