Ruth Ormond has spent a fair portion of her life surrounded by fine architecture. She grew up in a Blockhouse Bay home designed for her parents by Henry Kulka, one of the European postwar migrants who brought modernist style architecture to New Zealand.

When Ruth was in her teens, she had the chance to look through a new cedar-clad home designed by Claude Megson and built in 1965.

This is that house. Built for the Jopling family on a sheltered back section, it was Megson's second residential commission, winning him a New Zealand Institute of Architects' merit award in 1968.

From time to time Ruth always thought it'd be great to live in that house and some 30 years on from that first viewing, Ruth and Duncan learned the house was for sale.

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Now, more than 50 years since it was built, and 24 years since Ruth and Duncan and their two school-age children moved here in September 1992, they've put their own stamp on this property. Inside their changes have been minimal.

Outside they have lightened the entire property with fragrant textural plantings, a new boardwalk past the water feature and a lush rear perimeter garden that unites the two original paved courtyards.

Several earlier changes of ownership resulted in various largely-decorative updates inside the house.

Importantly, key structural features have remained intact including its modular layout and the clear division of spaces, with french doors and slender, full-height windows varying the sense of inter-connection and enclosure.

"It's like a Lego home but you can look right through the house from one end to the other wherever you are standing," says Ruth.

Original features include exposed timber beams, built-in furniture and shelving and the circular moulded door handles. The redecorated tiled bathrooms include the original en suite, a rare feature in 1960s homes.

In the lounge Ruth and Duncan closed in the conversation pit in front of the original fireplace, choosing to keep the blue stained glass detailing above the fire box.

They removed the same detailing around the base of the atrium in the dining room when they replaced the original yellow glass with clear UV-tinted glass, a decision that improved the appeal of that dining area.

"It changed the whole feeling. It just opened it right up to the light," says Duncan.

With Claude Megson's original built-in sideboard as a backdrop, this room opens directly into the lounge and also out through french doors into the courtyard. The adjacent kitchen has its own characterful charm and garden views.

The upper level is devoted to a large study or fourth bedroom, with another discreet set of stairs available for roof-top access.

This house was originally finished with cork flooring. Now it has carpet in the bedrooms, lounge and hallway, alongside new rustic-style cream tiles.

Their largest interior alteration has been to remove the three-room partitions in what was the original carport to convert it into a large single bedroom.

This, too, has access to the outdoors through one french door, just as the master bedroom does with french doors to both the rear garden and the front courtyard.

Garaging that a previous owner added on as a carport has now been closed in with doors. Its plaster cladding with cavity matches the new cladding that Ruth and Duncan installed across the front face of the house only, with the original vertical cedar boards underneath.

The Ormonds have lived here almost half the life-time of this house and they have decided to hand its place in architectural history over to another family.