Tellingly Cara Parkins' Wellington-based dad, who finds Auckland a bit too big and busy on the whole, loves the tranquility when he stays at this now fully renovated Hillcrest 70s home.

It's the first time his daughter Cara and her partner Hamish Craighead have owned a property that doesn't sit on the road frontage and they've found the difference in peacefulness to be a real eye-opener.

It's set back about 100m down a driveway off McDowell Cres with a far-reaching outlook over neighbouring suburbs towards the high-rises of Takapuna.

Hamish says: "People are always surprised that it's so close to town but so peaceful and private."


The couple were delighted to buy here around 18 months ago after previously owning a considerably smaller Birkenhead Point character home.

They thought the 1973 two-storey fibrous cement and cinderblock home was dated but with some elbow grease could become the sort of large family home they could grow into for years to come.

Cara says: "It jumped out at us in terms of the size of land, the size of house, the privacy and the outlook."

Hamish, a physiotherapist, and Cara, a project manager, who had son Leo (now three) found out they were expecting Jasper (now seven-months-old) not long after purchasing here. But that hasn't slowed them renovating the entire house and grounds.

Cara says: "I'm not really the sort who can sit down and sit still for long. And I love interior design, which I'd like to study in the long-term."

Entry to the now five-bedroom home is into its upper level and there's a double carport bolstered by off-street parking out front. Entry tiles they've laid fit with Cara's preferred decor aesthetic; modern, elegant with strong use of colours such as grey, black and white, which work well with bold colour accents.

The open-riser stairs with native timber treads are a reminder of the home's 70s origins, leading to the floor harbouring the main kitchen-living-dining area. New triple-stacker sliding doors open it up to a sunny deck overlooking the newly-fenced pool.

Cara's a little forlorn to be farewelling the new kitchen they made open-plan with dining-living, given she designed and splurged on it thinking it'd be hers long-term.

She teamed its marble-effect composite stone island and benches with high-gloss white cabinetry with black accents and new appliances including a wine fridge.

She chose black for powder-coated handles, the granite sink, matching granite tap and matt hexagonal splash-back tiling.

White-washed oak floorboards unite the kitchen-dining, and living features new carpet also laid elsewhere.

This level also contains three bedrooms including the master with walk-in wardrobe, a fully renovated bathroom and separate toilet.

Downstairs' previously bizarrely large second living area with storage cupboards and polished concrete floors is still spacious now they've walled off part of it creating a fifth, child's bedroom and a second bathroom-laundry. The neighbouring fourth bedroom could suit guests or extended family.

There's a study nook in the lower stairwell.

Young Leo's been known to stand at the door of the sizeable under-house workshop-storage space with internal and external doors and say: "Mummy, it's a man cave; no girls allowed."

They've also re-wired the home, put in LED lights and feature lights and white window shutters throughout.

They've re-fenced and re-sculpted the backyard, removing overgrown trees to create attractive low-maintenance lawn and garden good for kids and families, complemented by its own lush patch of rear native bush.

The couple approached renovations here thinking this would be a long-term home for their two boys to grow up in. But a change in situation because of Hamish's work means they're selling.

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