Bruce Ramsay and wife Anne both loved Browns Bay when they moved there with their family in 1978 when Bruce got transferred as general manager of transport for stock and station agent Wright Stephensons.

However, their Browns Bay home had no view of the sea, beloved by Bruce ever since he spent several years growing up near it in Wellington's Island Bay.

Anne says: "I was a stay-at-home mum to our three sons at that house which was only two years old when we bought it.

"However, it was a real 70s house with a big surfeit over the windows and dark clinker bricks and I told Bruce I found it a bit dark."

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Bruce was travelling a lot in those days and didn't think it was too bad. But once he retired and spent more time at home he conceded — the home was dark.

Wanting a home with a sea view they managed to buy an old cottage on a large section here.

It'd already been cross-leased so they sold half to allay costs and had architect Paul Francis design this large, two-storey home, completed in 1995.

They've lived here for nearly 23 years now, delighting in the painted cedar and plaster home's light-filled nature and the 180 degree sea views towards the Hauraki Gulf they enjoy from both levels.

Bruce says: "We often see cruise ships and yacht races. We can see Rangitoto, Rakino Island, the Noises and on a clear day we can see the Coromandel."

The splendid view is apparent as soon as visitors come through the foyer and up entrance stairs, often exclaiming with delight.

Anne says: "It's such as sunny, warm home. We have used the fireplace in the family room but the fireplace in the formal lounge-dining room has been laid that way for 23 years and never lit."

This expansive living-entertaining spread opens up to sunny decks alongside a glistening pool. The spacious granite bench kitchen has a servery window opening to the poolside.

Also on this level are a powder room, laundry opening to its own clothes-drying courtyard, the internal-access double garage, a workshop and some of their expansive storage.

Architect Paul Francis described his design as "contemporary classic" and its hallmark features include interesting ceiling angles, some curves and distinctive windows.

One round window sits half in the upper staircase atrium, half in the master suite's dressing room.

Bruce checks out ships with a telescope in the roomy master bedroom, which opens to a front deck and has an en suite as well as its dressing room.

All three other bedrooms on this level have sea views and outfitted wardrobes, serviced by a family bathroom and separate powder room.

Of the latter, Anne says: "Do you know you even get a sea view from that smallest room if you leave the door open. We always laugh about that."

The grounds are largely easy care, leaving time to enjoy being five minutes' walk from Browns Bay, five minutes' drive from Albany mall and 15 minutes' drive from Milford mall.

The home has been larger than they need for years but they've resisted giving up its lightness, flow and outlook.

However, they've finally decided to downsize.

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