The Connaught apartment building in the heart of the CBD was constructed only about 20 years ago, but its classic, gracious style echoes that of much older establishments, with a tiled lobby, tasteful artworks and an on-site manager who keeps the place spick and span.

Dr Janna Wardman, a lecturer in the Faculty of Education at the University of Auckland, and her husband Andrew, a retired general manager, bought two apartments off the plans back in 1999.

They lived in one while their daughter had the adjoining unit. When she moved out a few years later, they decided to merge the two properties, a process that took about six months. They were very pleased with the result, which has two titles.

At 130sq m, it's a generous apartment with a large open living area that catches the evening sun and wonderful views of Albert Park across the road, and beyond, with the city itself and Sky Tower in one direction and the museum and Auckland Domain in the other.

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It boasts a cleverly designed kitchen with masses of cupboard space and Janna says this is one of the apartment's best features.

"I like it so much that I'm planning to replicate it in our next home," she says.

Added to that are two bedrooms, both carefully configured to maximise storage capacity, and two bathrooms, one of which has a cupboard for the laundry.

The master bedroom has a window seat that's actually a big box and it's moveable, which is an added bonus.

There's also ample balcony space on the east and west sides for relaxing and taking in the cityscape.

"The second bedroom and bathroom could be made self-contained. We haven't done that but it's a real possibility," says Janna.

5A & 5L Waterloo Quadrant (known as 5A/14 Waterloo Quadrant), Auckland. Photo / Fiona Goodall
5A & 5L Waterloo Quadrant (known as 5A/14 Waterloo Quadrant), Auckland. Photo / Fiona Goodall

"A new owner could quite easily change the layout to include a third bedroom, so that's something else to consider."

She says The Connaught is much more than just an apartment complex.

"It's a true community and we all know each other. Owners and tenants tend to stay here for a long time."

The building has a communal noticeboard and its own Facebook page, which residents use to organise get-togethers, often drinks at the neighbouring Pullman Hotel, with which they have a great relationship.

"We're an eclectic mix here, with some very interesting people so the conversations can be very lively and stimulating," says Janna.

5A & 5L Waterloo Quadrant (known as 5A/14 Waterloo Quadrant), Auckland. Photo / Fiona Goodall
5A & 5L Waterloo Quadrant (known as 5A/14 Waterloo Quadrant), Auckland. Photo / Fiona Goodall

The swimming pool and gym is another good meeting place. It gets fairly busy in the early morning but generally residents can get onto the exercise machines or into the water without too much trouble.

And although they're in the CBD, there isn't much surrounding noise to bother residents.
"There are no dogs barking, no parties and very few small children," Janna says.

"The only time there's anything much is when a boy band is staying at the Pullman and hundreds of young girls turn up - or when a pipe band plays on graduation day.

"The good thing, when I'm driving, is that I have quick, easy access to the motorways."

5A & 5L Waterloo Quadrant (known as 5A/14 Waterloo Quadrant), Auckland. Photo / Fiona Goodall
5A & 5L Waterloo Quadrant (known as 5A/14 Waterloo Quadrant), Auckland. Photo / Fiona Goodall

While she has a car, and uses the building's secure carpark, Andrew doesn't.

"He knows the public transport system inside out and uses his Gold Card to get around the place. It's just a quick train ride to see the family in Remuera.

She and Andrew are moving out into a suburban townhouse to be closer to their grandchildren.

"It's not a long-term thing," she says. "It's just that they're at a particular stage of life where they need us. Then, when they're older, we plan to move back here to The Connaught - but to a different apartment. We really do like it that much."

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