It was third time lucky for Jane Walker when she flew to Auckland from Wellington for a day of serious house hunting 13 years ago.
This then brand-new house, designed by Sumich Architect, was the last of three houses Jane looked at that day.
But she knew immediately that the four-bedroom home would be a perfect retreat for her, husband Stuart, and his three then-teenage children, Philippa, Rick and Kelly.
"The house immediately grabbed me because it was so beautiful and modern with such high-quality fittings," says Jane, who moved to Auckland with Stuart for work.
The couple had been living between two Wellington properties, one in Wadestown and one in Waikanae, so the idea appealed of putting down roots in this spacious new home, which is less than 15 minutes' drive to the central city.
"Although the children were not living with us, they could come and go and use the house as a base. And it has been large enough for great family Christmases."
Being close to the CBD, Remuera shops and Newmarket, and also at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac that backs on to Waiata Reserve, means the property enjoys the best of both worlds.
Although the house, at the end of Waimea Lane off Victoria Ave, is the middle one of three down a right-of-way, its large section, clever design and skillful landscaping make it completely private and peaceful.
The home's modern design includes classic, timeless elements that give it a spacious, airy, welcoming feel - including domestic scale living spaces that connect well with each other and with the outdoors.
At the front of the 774sq m property is a path to the front door and a large forecourt that leads into triple-car, internal-access garaging.
The formal lounge on the ground level opens to a private north-facing courtyard and large solar-heated waterfall swimming pool, with the adjoining family room and kitchen also opening to an east-facing patio that is a perfect breakfast spot.
Screened by well-maintained, mature native trees and tall shrubs, the patio overlooks a lushly landscaped rear garden that opens directly through a gate on to the reserve.
Until recently, Stuart and Jane had two Jack Russell dogs so the leash-free reserve was a perfect playground. The reserve means the property also has abundant birdlife including moreporks, tui, fantails, waxeyes and warblers.
The ground level hallway leading off the main entrance has a striking marble and wood floor that draws you into the hub of the house - a large French provincial-style kitchen with Tasmanian oak cupboards and marble benches.
A bank of tall windows down the right side of the hall looks out on an ornamental fish pond backed by a row of tall nikau palms.
Interior designer Anna Desbonnet devised a colour palette for the house of rich creams, off-whites and pale golds that enhance its sense of warmth and complement the classic elegance of the furnishings Jane and Anna chose.
The interconnecting living spaces on the ground floor lend themselves beautifully to entertaining large and small crowds.
"It is a house that just absorbs people easily," says Jane.
The main living level also includes a large study, or fifth bedroom, a laundry that opens to a dedicated outdoor utility area and a bathroom.
Upstairs are three light-filled double bedrooms, another bathroom and the master bedroom with its own en suite, huge walk-in wardrobe and an east-facing terrace which mirrors a larger one off the guest bedroom at the western end on this level.
The next move for Jane and Stuart will probably be somewhere rural as this beautiful house is too big for their present needs.