The comings and goings from four different Goudie family homes in Walton St have come to define a busy household for Greg and Vikki Goudie and a 30-year connection with Red Beach.

They moved here from city suburb Kohimarama in 1988, making their second shift in the early 2000s into a home they built at the beach end of Walton St. Five years later they moved down the street to what was then a 1000sq m site with a Keith Hay home on one corner.

It was the site's potential that attracted them. On auction day, it was the huge boundary tree that caught Vikki's eye — and it would figure in her life long before she got the second new home her husband had promised her and their three sons.

That day she saw a little boy playing up the tree. Vikki turned to her husband and said, "Greg, we have to buy this property".

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The first house that went up here was a treehouse their son Craig, then an apprentice builder, built for his little brother Max. That kept the boys happy.

But Greg, a business owner, knew he wasn't going to get away with not delivering that new home.

"Five years on she wondered where it was and I said, 'I didn't say when I'd start. It must be now'." It took another five years, including looking at homes for sale "to avoid having to build", before they started planning . "We'd been here 10 years and I'd run out of excuses," he says.

But their vision of one new home had changed over time. Instead, they subdivided the property and built two complementary homes designed by Trevor Pyle of Masterplan Architectural.

The three-bedroom home on the larger site at No 52 is now their family home. Its smaller, two-bedroom neighbour at No 52A is for sale, under the watchful eye of their cat Charlie from his perch in the treehouse.

It wasn't always so calm and peaceful here though. The boys' skateboarding half-pipe once stood right where the little house now stands and its removal was the first sign that building work was finally under way.

Greg and Vikki built this house first and they watched its cedar/plastered concrete panel exterior form taking shape while still living in the group home. On its completion, they moved in and sampled life in a new light.

They had open-plan living, a modern kitchen, two decks and a single garage longer and wider than most. They loved the smallness of the house, in keeping with the trend towards more compact homes.

"Was it small? Yes it was, but you learn to live differently," says Greg. "You stop accumulating. We had what we needed and I have to say Vikki found it a lot easier to keep clean and tidy too."

Interestingly, it became something of a prototype for their larger home, which now has the same laminate oak flooring, instead of the concrete floors they'd first envisaged.

As for that Keith Hay home, it was sold, dismantled and shipped to Samoa, where it has been rebuilt for a family whose home was destroyed by a tsunami.

Greg says their decision to sell has been tough. "I'm pretty sure we will regret it, because in 15 years' time we might decide that our big house is a bit big. Then again, this is about looking forward."

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