When Steve and Karen bought their Langs Beach property 25 years ago they intended to build a holiday home to do justice to the fantastic views of Bream Bay.
So, as a temporary measure, they replaced the caravan that the previous owners had on site with a "6.8m by 9.6m Ideal garage and converted that into a rustic dwelling" with three bedrooms, living area/kitchen and bathroom, says Steve.
That building was placed in a rear corner of the property, leaving the best site available for a home that would have north-facing views out to the Hen and Chicken Islands. Steve said it was the view - "an unbelievable 180-degree vista" of Bream Bay - that sold the couple on the property, as well as its proximity to Auckland.
Karen recalls, "We saw the property advertised and when we went there we thought, 'Wow, if we don't buy this we must be stupid."' For Steve it was a return to his roots as his grandfather had owned one of the original baches at Langs Beach, and Steve had "fished there all my life".
The converted garage was hooked up to services - including mains water supply - although Steve was initially reluctant to get electricity. In retrospect it was a good idea.
He had fond memories of his grandfather's bach with an "old kerosene heater and possums jumping on the roof", so he liked a spartan approach, although he did install an air-conditioning unit for added comfort. There are also a couple of sheds, an outdoor shower and a fish-filleting area away from the house.
A deck added to the front of the bach enjoys the sweeping ocean views and served as a safe play area when their children were little. "It's a safe place for kids to play and run around, make huts and collect bugs," says Karen.
Over the years, Karen and Steve found the basic nature of the bach suited their seaside lifestyle and made for a relaxed holiday environment for them and their three children. So much so that plans to build a holiday home never reached fruition.
Having a bach and grounds that required little upkeep also meant more time to enjoy summer holidays and weekends away. "It was our place to kick back and relax," says Karen.
"Steve and the boys would go fishing and I would paint and read and relax.
"It's an easy-care site because that's what you want when you live in Auckland ... It's got a bush perimeter with a flat quarter-acre at the top and a sweeping piece of lawn out the front."
She adds: "Because of the situation you don't actually look out on anyone at all - you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere." That's something Steve noticed when going to nearby Waipu over the New Year and returning home to "the solitude and peace" of their private spot.
Having such a large section and the sheds meant Steve could keep two boats and a tractor on site so he could launch off the beach. It also meant that when the kids hit their teenage years they could camp at the bottom of the property by the fire pit Steve created, well away from the bach.
With keen fishermen in the family, towards the end of the summer holidays the kids would start to moan about having crayfish for dinner again. That never stopped Steve heading out in his boat, and he raves about the variety and quantity of fish he has caught over the years.
Karen said the long-term plan was to convert the bach into an art studio or a sleepout for the kids when the new house was built, but now that she and Steve have separated it is time to sell.