Coro Daniel sums it up perfectly when she says: "I loved my house back to life."
When she bought the 1930s stucco house 18 years ago, it looked sad and dowdy.
It was in fairly original condition throughout, with many features that hadn't been touched for years, such as pull-out rice and flour bins in the kitchen. But Coro didn't let that put her off.
The property's elevated site in a good neighbourhood close to town appealed to her, as did the fact there was a swimming pool in the back garden. "I could see it had good bones and I had some ideas about what I could do.
"It's been a process of evolution over many years and I was able to make my ideas happen because I had the ideal blank canvas."
That process has resulted in a distinctive resort-style home set in a striking garden.
It is a mix of South Pacific and Asian influences, with a hint of Mediterranean thrown in.
"I guess it is a surprise to find a place like this in the middle of suburbia," Coro says.
Both the garden and the house have received extreme makeovers, initially undertaken by Coro and later enhanced by her partner Gordon (who has an interior design background) after they got together six years ago.
The garden, described by her friends as a "tropical oasis", features extensive decking around the pool and striking plants like palms, gardenias, agaves, bromeliads, vireyas and jasmine.
Out the front, there is a water feature and a stone mosaic path behind the wrought-iron gate.
"It's lovely and private and you feel as if could be anywhere in the world," says Coro.
Inside, the house was transformed by removing walls to open up the living space, painting it a clean, crisp white inside and out, pulling up carpets and polishing wooden floors and putting in a new kitchen and bathrooms. These rooms feature unusual touches like a pebble mesh tiled floor in the main bathroom and a bench comprising a huge slab of macrocarpa on the kitchen island .
"You can use it just like a butcher's block - you can chop anything straight on it and just scrub it with sugar soap later."
The white walls throughout make the perfect backdrop for Coro's eclectic collection of art and artefacts, many of them picked up on travels around the world.
Half-height, white plantation-style shutters in the living and dining areas add to the tropical feel while letting the light in and keeping prying eyes out. The main bedroom at the front of the house has an en suite and deep windows (which could easily be replaced by French doors) that allow access to the west-facing front deck.
A hall off the living room leads to two more bedrooms - both generously sized - and the main bathroom, which has a huge walk-in shower.
The dining room and kitchen at the back of the house both open up to the garden.
Just a few steps away and alongside the pool is an outbuilding Coro calls "the lanai".
This has a living room, bedroom and bathroom, and a path along the side of the house means there's independent access. Coro often rents out not just the lanai but the whole house to holidaymakers, bringing in up to $700 a week. The house has also been used for magazine photo shoots with celebrities like Judy Bailey and Suzanne Paul. It was also the home of one of the characters in the TV series Nothing Trivial.
"It's a great way to make extra income, which all goes back into the property," says Coro, whose recent guests have included an Olympic medallist and his family from the UK.
"People who stay here always think it is great."
With more overseas travel on the cards for Coro and Gordon, the time has come to move on and let someone else enjoy their home permanently.
"I love my house and I will miss it, but hopefully someone else will come along who really loves it, too," says Coro.By Donna Fleming