When father of seven Gerardus Gomes was house-hunting in South Auckland 20 years ago, his requirements were clear. Used to large homes from his childhood in South Africa he was looking for space – and lots of it.
"I wanted at least six bedrooms for the children. At the time, the eldest was 17 and the twins were 18 months," he says.
"When I first saw this place, in a quiet cul-de-sac, it was two years old and empty because the owners lived in Hong Kong. For some reason relating to Hong Kong being handed over to China by Britain, they decided to sell up, so when I bought it, it was essentially as-new.
"What appealed particularly, apart from the 270sq m floor area, was the fact that back then, it was practically in the country and had a huge reserve next door for the children to play on," says Gerardus.
He also liked the fact that there was an impressive foyer at the front of the house, an elegant and ornate set of stairs and two large living areas – one formal and the other more casual, plus a big, well-appointed kitchen.
When you have such a big family it's important to have a decent space for preparing meals," he says.
The dining area has sliding doors that open onto the tiled patio outside so entertaining is easy, with seamless indoor/outdoor flow.
The high-traffic areas have tiled floors while the rest of the house is carpeted and because it's fully insulated it requires little heating. A central vacuum system makes housework a breeze.
Upstairs are the five bedrooms which could also be four bedrooms and a study. The master suite is enormous with a walk-in wardrobe and a complete bathroom, with spa bath. It has its own balcony where parents can relax in peace.
The family bathroom also has a spa bath.
On the ground floor there's a huge bonus in the form of a self-contained bedroom and bathroom – ideal for teenagers, elderly parents or other extended family options.
The decor of the house is classic and neutral, and in addition to the internal-access double garage, there are also parking spaces outside.
The property is fully fenced and gated, with well-established trees and shrubs so it's ideal for young families, and there are good schools close by.
Over the years, the area around Etwall Court has become almost completely built-up.
While the closest supermarket was a lengthy car ride away in 1998, nowadays Botany Town Centre is almost on the doorstep and other shops, cafes and services abound, serving Dannemora's burgeoning number of residents. If you want to enjoy a semi-rural outing, Whitford is just down the road.
Gerardus now lives on a lifestyle block in North Canterbury and the children are all adults, spread around the world. The property has been used most recently by extended family, but now he feels the time has come to sell it.
"It's been newly repainted inside and out and I've installed a new roller door on the garage.
"The house has been well-looked after and the next owners won't need to do a thing unless they want to," he says.