Ten years ago, Meagan Evans stood on the deck of a little do-up at Muriwai, looking out to the surf, and told the real estate agent, "I'll buy it".
She knew the two-bedroom 1948 fibrolite bach would need major renovations - "it was pretty rugged" - but the location couldn't be bettered. It stood on a quiet, sought-after crescent, a stroll from the popular west coast beach. And it had a large flat front yard and a private backyard.
"I love the ocean, and you're so close to Woodhill Forest for mountain biking, and there's a golf course. It's nice to just wander everywhere."
She gradually renovated and extended it into a two level, three-bedroom home, designed to make the most of the environment and views. The split-level living area opens to decks that overlook the ocean, as does one of the two bedrooms on this level. The master suite upstairs has glass sliders so there's nothing to block the view.
"It's so nice that you can just lie in bed and watch the ocean," Meagan says.
She designed a clean and fresh interior, with pale walls, white granite kitchen benches and pale wooden floors - some of them the original tawa - to retain the "beachy and bachy feeling".
As well as opening to an oceanside deck, the living area opens via glass sliders to the rear courtyard garden and barbecue area. This means that even when Meagan's sitting out back, she gets a sea view. It also gives plenty of options for sheltering from the wind, no matter what direction it's coming from. One of the decks at the front can be enclosed, to provide outdoor living year-round. And Meagan has developed the front yard to allow for a lawn and garden, while reserving plenty of space for parking - a rarity for Muriwai.
Meagan and her 6-year-old son, Kalan, have loved the Muriwai lifestyle, and the tight-knit community. She can fit in nine holes of golf or a surf before starting work in Ponsonby - about a 35- to 40-minute commute - and have a swim in the evening, either in the surf or the creek.
"You drive home on a Friday and you feel like you've gone on holiday. And it's definitely a lovely place for kids. They make good friends. We can wander down to the shop and know everyone."
After a happy decade, Meagan and Kalan have decided to move to Kumeu, with her partner. Meagan will miss the house she's put so much work into.
"I love my home - it'll be hard to leave. I'm going to miss Muriwai, miss the roar of the ocean and the closeness to the outdoors."