If Gina Day weren't so busy running pump classes for her friends, building websites and re-upholstering vintage furniture in cool velvets, she could easily become the spokesperson and enthusiast for her corner of Auckland.

"I just love Westmere, it's the best suburb ever," she says. "My husband Richard's father and siblings grew up here, so we knew we'd want to move over here with the kids.

Everyone's so friendly, we can walk to the beach or to Ponsonby for date night, it's such a great place."

When the couple moved from Mt Eden four years ago, they were lucky enough to snap up what they'd thought was one of the suburb's classic bungalows on West End Rd. But they soon realised the house behind the classic bungalow shingle and porch facade was a new build.


The original building had been destroyed by fire half way through a renovation, but rather than design a new house, the then-owners decided to replicate the classic lines and traditional layout of the original, adding the modern living at the back as they'd originally planned. The result is a super-modern house, but with classic 1920s proportions and detail.

The front yard has been excavated to create room for a large double garage - that's where Gina runs her exercise classes and has a full-sized workbench set up for her upholstery business, Delicious Moody.

There's room behind the secure gate for a couple more off-street parks, as well as pretty steps and lawn leading to the welcoming front porch. The shingle walls and dentil trims are a testament to a modern builder who knows his old-school craftsmanship.

Inside, the front half of the house replicated the bungalow layout of central hallway with two spacious double rooms opening off it: one, with double doors, is Gina's office as well as a media and guest room, the other is the master bedroom. It has a well detailed walk-through closet and modern, highly-speced ensuite.

Two more double bedrooms and a family bathroom continue the classic layout. The airy bathroom includes both a shower and a sculptural tub and a feature wall of sparkly black mosaic tiles.

The new build repeated the deep architraves and panelled doors of the old house, with wide-plank oak floors replacing native woods.

There is plenty of storage fitted in all the bedrooms, and a well-equipped laundry too, off the hallway.

Stairs lead down to the garage and storage, and the house has modern gas central heating, and all the modern electronics.

The back half of the house drops down a couple of steps to the open plan kitchen, dining and living room.

Gina and Richard brought a huge dining table with them, but it is still dwarfed by the island in the kitchen - one of Gina's favourite features, with its solid countertops and dark oak cabinets set off by sleek black tile splash back.

This is the social centre of the house for the couple and all their neighbouring friends and family, but there is also a handy butler's pantry, possibly the footprint of an old bungalow kitchen, that stashes extra appliances and a lot more storage behind the kitchen proper.

The sitting room is arranged around a smart gas fireplace, for cosy winter ambience.

A wall of sliding glass doors opens the living room to the back deck and garden, terraced and retained for room for the trampoline and kids' playground.

The section is sheltered for the small ones, but the family also loves heading out across to parks at Cox's Bay and further into Grey Lynn park, via the neighbourhood's network of off-road paths.

The couple is so fond of Westmere that they are not moving far - only two blocks in fact, for a bigger house.

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