It's hard to believe that 45 Shelly Beach Rd in St Marys Bay enjoys such a central location, because behind the neat garden wall and the security entrance gate lies a peaceful, zen-like oasis with established trees, neat box-hedging, easy-keep garden, abundant birdsong and a shimmering pool, and it feels light years away from the world outside.

Liz Philippsen, a teacher, says this was one of many things that attracted her and husband Wolf, who works as a driving instructor, when they were house-hunting a couple of years ago.

"There's something really relaxing about watching the pool water lap gently in the breeze, or seeing the ripples that come with raindrops," she says.

The one-level brick and stucco house was built in the 1950s and has been sympathetically and stylishly updated by various owners over the past decade or so.

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Central to the layout is a wide, tiled entrance hall with skylights, letting in sunshine. Off it are the three bedrooms, two generous doubles and a significantly larger master suite with walk-through wardrobe and an elegant beige tiled bathroom - plus its own courtyard.

There's also a family bathroom, with bath, which feels very much like the restful spa facilities in a top-notch hotel.

Just around the corner lies the main living area, a long space that, while open-plan, offers the sense of three separate "rooms".

The lounge is huge and sunny with garden and pool views, and in the middle is the dining area beside bi-fold doors that can be flung open when the sun appears.
"It's the most perfect place to be in summer," says Liz.

"We haven't had to make many changes in the time we've lived here, we've just added new carpet and changed some of the paint colours to something that's warm and neutral."

At the end lies the kitchen and she's really enjoyed spending time here. It's smart, modern and well-equipped, with a sophisticated brown and black colour scheme.

"It has so much bench space that when my daughters are here, or we're entertaining, there's room for everybody to do their own thing," she says.

While Shelly Beach Rd is at the end of the motorway off-ramp, with handy access to the on-ramp via Curran St, which runs parallel to it, there's no traffic noise at all inside the house, which is partly insulated from the street by a double garage in front.

The house itself is certainly an attractive, easy-care property and the neighbourhood has equally as much to recommend it.

Liz is a keen walker and it didn't take her long to find all the local parks, tracks, and walkways, of which there are many. She especially likes going along the waterfront to the Viaduct.

"Even in the couple of years we've been here I've watched Wynyard Quarter filling in more and more. It's going to be something very special," she says.

The area is well-situated for schooling with Ponsonby Primary and Ponsonby Intermediate within easy walking distance - plus Auckland Girls' Grammar and Western Springs College. There are also two early childcare centres nearby.

The shops and cafes of Jervois Rd are at the top of the street, which segue seamlessly into Ponsonby Rd.

Since daughter Germaine (pictured) has bought her first home in Ellerslie, Liz and Wolf have begun thinking about their future - and it includes a boat.

"We just want to free ourselves of responsibilities and go off looking for adventure," Liz says.

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