Peter and Mary-Ann Considine bought themselves an early Christmas present when they moved here in December 1985 and unwittingly scored themselves a parcel of bonus "extras".

It was the do-up potential of this former run-down flat that first brought them here with their 10-month-old firstborn. They planned to stay just long enough to renovate and return it to the market in favour of a long-term family home elsewhere.

But this home, and its location as one of only eight early 20th century homes in this cul-de-sac, gave them other ideas.

As they put the family vibe back into its interior spaces, it dawned on them that they'd bought themselves a destination rather than a stopover.


Together, the Considine family and their 1920s Californian bungalow have become part of the fabric of the neighbourly Rarawa St dynamic.

They know their neighbours by name and gather together in the street's "village green" for their annual barbecue.

Behind their red letter box and their matching front door with its red and green leadlight windows, they steadily enhanced everything about their home.

In doing so, they've given a seemingly single-level home a discreet, two-storey functional modern addition.

Then, they've wrapped it all up with new, style-appropriate casement windows, retaining the cornices and decorative ceiling vents that are among the original features.

Peter Considine always knew there was potential up above these ceilings with their rooftop views and abundant storage space.

A former financier, who went on to become a qualified builder during all of this, Peter discovered still more scope for added lifestyle value. "I used to look up here and think that it'd be nice to do a roof development," he says.

"That really was the gestational part of the roof extension quite early on, but we didn't get around to doing it until about 2010."

As was the case with their earlier strategy, it was the needs of their four children that confirmed the order of the room-by-room renovations.

When their teenagers needed more space, they installed the central stairs up into roof space, made even more generous by work done decades earlier to lower the downstairs ceilings.

Here, beneath a gently sloping roofline, they've maximised the floor area for the lounge, two bedrooms and second family bathroom.

Two of the three downstairs bedrooms are at the front of the house, including the master bedroom at one end and a guest bedroom with adjoining sunroom at the other end.

This sunny space was originally an open porch before it was closed in and enlarged slightly to become a nursery, then re-integrated anew.

Their nearby lounge and adjacent family room were previously one unwieldy space before cavity sliders were installed for more congenial entertaining.

The family room opens into the combined kitchen and dining area, with dark-stained cork tiles underfoot. Its easy connection to their deck and garden is enhanced by the magnolia that filters the late afternoon sun.

"That has been a swing tree and a 'falling out of' tree," says Mary-Ann. "That tree is the memory of this house for the children."

They opted to carpet over the matai floors, but they kept it as a feature of the downstairs bathroom as a nod to the origins of the house.

Their cream and emerald green claw foot bath takes its colour cue from the emerald green of their leadlight windows to complete the picture.

Peter and Mary-Ann Considine have embraced the traditional style from start to finish in a 32-year long renovation.

Now they're keen to downsize, try low-maintenance living and maybe sample the modern vibe.

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