Emad Youssef's extended family gravitates to his place here, whether it's for belly-dancing, or a barbecue, or both.
With family scattered throughout Auckland, Emad and Sue's elegantly renovated home has become the natural focal point for his four siblings, who arrived in New Zealand from Egypt 33 years ago with their parents, and all the children within their realm.
For Emad and Sue personally, this home is much more than that. They bought this property five years ago, buoyed by its home-and-income potential, and it has fulfilled their optimistic expectations.
Out of the bones of the single-storey 1920s house that was lifted in the 1980s to become a double-storey dwelling, they have created a home for their three young children. Within its footprint they built two self-contained two-bedroom flats downstairs, in which one of Emad's three adult children lives.
These days, they all come together upstairs in Emad and Sue's big open-plan lounge, dining room and deck that takes in the leafy views across to nearby Pt Erin Park.
Emad and Sue had just one child when they moved in here and they lived on site during the renovation process, moving down to one of the flats when necessary.
The house as they bought it had a smaller front deck, a ground-floor rumpus room that had been altered to function as a sub-let and one rear granny flat.
Emad explains the scale of their rebuild, which saw the installation of one 10m-long steel beam across the entire width of their front lounge to create a seamless link via their bifold doors to their 4.6m-deep deck. "We removed two bay windows and a front door in the middle to make one big space," he adds.
Their barbecue and outdoor eating area is their Kiwi focal point for as many as 60 people. Their piano, Emad's Arabic guitar and his drums are the Egyptian connection to life here and a daily reminder of why this convivial home works so well for them.
Throughout this house, Emad and Sue have retained the best of its architectural features and sourced complementary materials to unify the look.
Emad had a plaster mould made of the original cornices in the lounge to maintain a continuity of style that complements the original plaster ceiling roses and the couple's cast-iron chandeliers from Thailand.
In the lounge, their substantial wood-burning granite fireplace is a welcome winter focal point.
In the kitchen, the focal point is the traditional mantel and villa corbels above the hob, beyond the long granite bench around which everyone naturally congregates. Elsewhere, bay windows in two of the three upstairs bedrooms are reminiscent of the original home, too.
Further down the hallway, the master bedroom, its en suite and the nearby study overlook the courtyard garden in what was an extension to the house when it was lifted.
The timber flooring throughout the original house is dark-stained kauri, with Vitex hardwood timber on the ground floor.
The attention to detail begins at the front face of this substantial house. Beneath the front deck, the lower former concrete front face of this house has been extended and rebuilt with weatherboards and doors that match those off the upstairs deck. Behind those two doors on either side of their new front door are two invaluable outdoor storage rooms.
Now Emad and Sue are looking to swap their urban lifestyle for one in the country, to give their young children a lifestyle similar to the life that Emad led as a youngster growing up in the fertile lands of the Suez Canal.
"Now is the best time to do it and it is important to us to give our children this opportunity," says Emad.