Having lived in the South Island for most of their lives, Dave and Karen Brady have relished gardening in Auckland's warmer climate.

"We've really enjoyed having a native garden and being able to plant things we couldn't plant in the South Island," says Dave.

"We've put in a lot of flowering plants to attract the birds, and we've enjoyed watching the ebb and flow of the seasons."

They bought the 1950s vintage home about six years ago because it fulfilled their requirements for a character home with potential.


Dave says: "The things we wanted were a character home where we could express our individuality, somewhere reasonably close to the city, and somewhere close to the airport because I travel a bit for work."

Karen says: "When we got here it was really just a bach in a sea of grass. The garden was overgrown with weeds and we wanted to reinstate the bush."

A lot of the couple's focus has gone into landscaping and planting the section, which has a stream running through the middle of it.

"One of the first things we did was build a bridge so we could get over the other side and work on paths and replanting," says Karen.

As part of their landscaping efforts, they also rebuilt fences and put in retaining walls and stone chip paths and a driveway.

Dave has built a path that loops through the bush at the rear of the section, with a seating area perched at the back. Over the back fence is Green Bay High school and its eight tennis courts.

Inside, the home retains a lot of its 50s charm, with wooden floors, casement windows, and french doors out to decks.

That retro feeling is reinforced by the mid-century furniture that Karen has collected over the years, having owned an antiques shop.

Chequered lino in the kitchen gives way to timber floors in the dining room/lounge, that opens to a deck that wraps around the house.

An adjoining snug with bookshelves and a woodburner makes an ideal retreat during winter.

Dave says: "We've done things like painting and put in bookcases and wardrobes and redone the en suite, replaced rotten french doors, but a lot of the infrastructure stuff was already done - the wiring was done, the plumbing was good and the roof was new."

At the front of the house, the master bedroom has a new en suite with a bachy feel - painted, panelled walls and a shower box encased in mini-corrugated iron. It opens to a fully-plumbed outdoor bath, sitting behind a black-stained fence.

"After you have had your day in the garden, you can climb in the bath and it feels great," says Dave.

At the back of the house are two more bedrooms, with views of the bush through picture windows. One of the bedrooms opens to the deck, that, in this corner, has a shade sail.

Downstairs is the couple's sewing room/office, that also looks out to the bush.

"This is a lovely room to be in," says Karen. "You get the morning sun then a bit of evening sun and you can sit in here and watch the birds."

Next door is a storage room/laundry that opens out under the deck.

At the front of the house, Dave has his shed that he will be sad to leave behind.

But having enjoyed their time in Auckland, the couple are heading back south to Naseby, near Karen's hometown of Ranfurly.

She says: "We weren't going to move until we found the house we wanted."

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