Sixteen years ago, Erin Lawlor bought her house in a quiet, secluded street in Greenlane as a freshly minted new-build. Since then, not a day has gone by that she hasn't reflected on how happy, safe and contented she feels here.
"Everything about it is wonderful," she says. "It's a no-exit street so traffic is minimal. I'm surrounded by beautiful big pohutakawa and I love the sound of bird life during the day."
She understands that the land her house and her immediate neighbours' houses stand on used to be an orchard.
Erin's modern brick-and-tile property is single level, well-built and maintained, with similarly attractive neighbouring dwellings. It's fully insulated, with effective and economical gas heating.
North-facing, and recently re-carpeted, it has a large sunny combined lounge and dining room. The kitchen is pleasant and bright, with loads of cupboards and drawers, along with plenty of benchtop space for the keen cook.
There are three double bedrooms, all with their own distinct colour schemes: one blue and one green, while Erin's own room has a lovely, soft Sanderson-style pink rose print curtains.
"They still look really good even after all these years," she says.
Her bedroom also has walk-in wardrobe and en suite. As a bonus, there's a study, which could also be a fourth bedroom, a separate family bathroom, and the double garage has internal access.
While everything within is in as-new order, including all the tasteful furnishings, there's still scope to refresh the house — perhaps by modernising the kitchen and bathrooms. However, these jobs aren't essential and the house will function perfectly in its current form for many years to come.
Over the years, Erin has had a constant flow of family, friends and foreign students to stay and she's never run out of room. "It's a surprisingly spacious place," she says.
As a keen gardener, she's created beautiful outdoor surroundings from scratch.
"I'm especially fond of roses and they grow incredibly well here. I can count on them blooming from October to March each year.
"Because it's so well-sheltered I've even been able to have sub-tropical plants that will usually grow only in greenhouses, and my gardenias are covered with divine-smelling flowers in summer."
Erin loves to sit on the paved patio at the front of her fully fenced section and simply admire her handiwork. She says that there's something new to see, all-year-round.
Having Cornwall Park just five minutes' walk away is a significant attraction. Also, One Tree Hill Domain and a block of neighbourhood shops are nearby. Royal Oak Mall is a short drive and Greenlane and Newmarket are also within easy reach, as is the Southern Motorway.
"It's so handy to everything. I've made great friends and we'll all be keeping in touch in the future," Erin says.
She can see the setting for the next phase of her life from her driveway.
It's the Logan Campbell retirement village, under construction, where she will be living in a two-bedroom apartment with a large balcony.
"I'm not young anymore and I wanted to make the move while I still have all my faculties. As you can see, I'm not going far because I still want to be part of this lovely community."