Search for 24 Tuhaere St on Google Maps and when you see the photograph, you'll most likely think you've typed in the wrong address.
It's a "before photo" that looks vastly different to the renovated home that now graces the full section in the prestigious Orakei street.
Owners Grant and Robyn Dunningham chanced on the brick home two years ago when they were visiting friends in the area. Grant recalls, "We drove up Tuhaere St and thought this was a pretty cool street and then we saw this old girl sitting there."
They signed up for the house and settled in for a year before deciding on changes to turn it into a more modern family home.
"Family homes are now open-plan and this home had been built in the 1950s," says Robyn.
Grant adds, "Robyn and I are intrepid in the places we travel to and the things we take on. We started off with painting and papering and it turned into an extreme makeover."
The changes started with what once was a bare front lawn but is now a beautiful garden with Italian paving, a pergola , borders of griselina and buxus, bromeliads, iceberg roses and Chinese star jasmine among the 800 plants.
The exterior bricks were plastered over and, inside, the home benefited from double glazing and Braemar central heating.
Grant and Robyn made the kitchen, hall and lounge into one large open-plan room, pushing out the walls to add 50sq m. They rewired, replumbed, reroofed, insulated, carpeted and redid all three bathrooms, including adding underfloor heating.
"This is a dress circle and the house deserved better than what you see in the old photos," says Robyn. "We're proud of what we have done. The neighbours have complimented us on the work, saying it is a good renovation but also it has kept the character of the home in terms of the neighbourhood."
The main living space invites you in from the front door. This open-plan area with rimu flooring and carpet includes the kitchen, dining and lounge and the corner panoramic window captures the view over Hobson Bay.
The custom-made kitchen is stunning, with its Norwegian granite benchtop, negative detailing instead of drawer handles, an Italian-tile splashback, Smeg appliances and a pantry.
Also on this level are two bedrooms and two bathrooms, with stairs down to a second lounge (it had been a storeroom), wired for home theatre. "Because we had the open-plan upstairs we did this as a breakout room for the kids or as a man cave," says Grant. French doors open to the garden and this level also houses the double garage.
The top level has the master bedroom with walk-in wardrobe and en suite, with an elegant Victoria and Albert bath and matching hand basins. There is a second bedroom and roof deck with 180-degree views spanning Hobson Bay, Sky Tower, One Tree Hill and Mt Eden.
"We thought the view is so wonderful it would be a pity not to put the deck up here. It's also pretty at night with the city lights."
With all the hard work done, Robyn and Grant say people don't understand why they're selling this wonderful home. Again, it comes down to their intrepid natures. With adult sons settled in Palmerston North and Melbourne, they feel free to travel. They will base themselves in a penthouse apartment in the CBD.
Robyn and Grant think their house will appeal as a family home but add it has worked well for them as a couple.
"It's not too big, not too small."By Donna McIntyre