When Anouska Maritz arrived in New Zealand 15 years ago from Britain, she'd planned on a six-month stint before heading across the Ditch. But with a house, a husband, two children and another on the way, she admits that may mean she's found her place.

"Friends were all going to Australia, but when I got here, it just felt like home," she says. "I grew up on the Isle of Wight, so it would feel wrong if I couldn't see water every day.

When I bought this house 10 years ago as a single woman, people thought it was crazy, this was an 'old people's' area back then. But I loved the commute every day, sitting on the ferry with a book, it was such a nice way to commute."

In the decade since she moved into the neighbourhood, Anouska says it has changed.


Although it still has the wide tree-lined streets leading to the Bayswater marina and ferry terminal, and a gorgeous mix of bungalows and grander houses, the community has changed to more young families like her own.

There's a school up the road, a new daycare, and it's easy to walk up to the Belmont shops without being tied to the car.

The bungalow that Anouska bought was comfortable enough to share with her new partner, then husband Justin six years ago.

But when they were expecting baby number one, Thea, now 4, the couple added a second floor with a master bedroom, en suite and nursery/single bedroom.

The stairwell was carved off a small downstairs bedroom, leaving room for a handy entry mudroom for coats, keys and the essential stroller.

Upstairs, Anouska got more than she bargained for with the vista: as well as views over the water to the city, the couple can also see all the way west to the Waitakere Ranges, a pretty scene at sunset.

Her job with a plumbing company meant that they could splurge on luxurious fittings for their bathroom, including a textured timber vanity and cupboard, and a sleek spa bath.

Then the imminent arrival of baby Emma, now 2, prompted the renovation of the kitchen and addition of a sunny living room.

The kitchen, with well-organised storage and tongue-and-groove cupboards that nod to the vintage of the bungalow, fitted into the sunny existing footprint (Anouska thinks it may have originally been a sunroom, judging by the bank of period windows).

The renovation gave the family a bar for informal meals, plus room for a proper dining area. In the process they also stripped out a fireplace and added insulation, but Anouska says that the new living room was a life-changer for the family, giving them a warm sunny space where they want to spend time.

Windows slide back to open the house to the back yard, where there are two decks (the second, off the kitchen, does duty for dining and barbecue) as well as lawn for labrador Benny to romp.

The ground floor has two more bedrooms and the family bathroom. The guest bedroom, which has its own en suite and french doors opening to the back deck, has had heavy use from both sets of grandparents, who visit from overseas for extended periods.

But as the family grew, the couple began hunting for a house with a self-contained annex so that they can host guests for longer, with more privacy, so are reluctantly putting their place on the market.

They had toyed with plans for building a garage with guest house above (currently there is paved off-street parking for three cars), but will leave that for the next buyers to build.

"I can walk in 10 minutes to kindy for the kids, or in the other direction to the marina," says Anouska.

"It's such a nice street, I'm going to miss the views. It has taken a lot of hunting to find anything that could be better than this."

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