The idea of owning a house 12 minutes' walk from where her daughter worked and lived first inspired Christchurch resident Munjula Andrews to buy a property in Auckland.
Within days of her taking possession of this 110-year-old Parnell villa, her beautiful home in the Christchurch suburb of Fendalton was so badly damaged in the February 2011 earthquake that Munjula packed and left the city she had lived in all her life.
"I threw some essentials and a few pieces of furniture in my car and drove up to Auckland," says Munjula.
Instead of renting out the Takutai St property, she moved into the house and embarked on a top-to-toe renovation, which took 18 months and included landscaping the large garden.
Before Munjula bought the house, it had been with the same owners for about 60 years.
It was pretty much in its original condition, with sacking on the walls, a poky kitchen and a small bathroom, but Munjula could see that it also had great bones and solid original features including decorative fireplaces, ornate ceilings and kauri floorboards.
The house sits high on a generous 2012sq m site at the end of one of Parnell's dress circle streets, close to Hobson Bay.
Rather than adding a second storey, Munjula excavated underneath the house and transformed the dirt-floor basement into a spacious lower level that includes an internal access garage and a generous separate living area that opens out to the back garden.
She also increased the size of the home's main level, pushing the southern wall out several metres to create a spacious new kitchen and a generous deck that runs along the back of the house and overlooks the newly terraced garden.
The renovated house blends the best of tradition with modern features and no expense has been spared in ensuring that all of the specifications are top quality, including extensive insulation and double-glazed windows and doors.
Original villa windows have been re-hung and double glazed, skirting boards and wood panelling have been replaced, and double-glazed, bi-fold french doors have been added to the formal lounge, which is now filled with light.
Balustrading for the new back deck was custom-made to match the pattern on the original return veranda at the front of the house and add to its strong street appeal. A plastered concrete block wall with an elegant wrought iron gate and garden walls that contain formal planting add to this appeal.
Running off the beautifully restored central hallway, which retains pressed tin ceilings - are the main living spaces that have wide views over Hobson Bay.
The formal living room at the front of the house opens to the front veranda and leads through to a large family-cum-TV room that adjoins the open-plan dining and kitchen space.
The modern kitchen, designed by Cabinet Collection, with a French country-style twist to complement the age of the house, includes a walk-in pantry and dumb waiter.
To the right of the hallway are four of the five bedrooms, including one with a fireplace that could double as another living room or office, the main bathroom and a separate toilet.
The master bedroom opens to the back deck, has a large en suite and two wardrobes.
The hallway leads through to the kitchen and to stairs to the lower level, where the living space includes the fifth bedroom, a large lounge, third bathroom, small office and the laundry.
Munjula is ready to move into a smaller, new house in Mt Eden.