When Robyn and Brian Cossar downsized from their Mt Eden family home to this two-bedroom apartment in Karangahape Rd's George Court building, the biggest initial thrill was having more free time. No lawns to mow, no repairs.

"The move from our Mt Eden home was a big change," says Robyn. "We were no longer a family of five under the one roof."

However, she did miss having a garden. "So, I have made a 'green wall' from artificial hedge tiles."

The couple bought the apartment in 2011.

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"I suppose like many 'empty nesters', the family home felt too large once our three children had fled the nest," she says. "Additionally, having lived in the one home for some 21 years, the large renovations we carried out earlier on, were up for refurbishment again."

The George Court building, developed into freehold apartments in the 1990s, appealed because it had character as well as being in the inner city.

"Central Auckland has limited heritage buildings that people can call home. That gives George Court an advantage over newer and smaller builds."

Living on K Rd, they could stroll through Myers Park to central Auckland's entertainment, restaurants, art gallery, library, shopping, the harbour and Viaduct. If they wanted to travel further afield, they had easy access to motorways.

"Some owners choose to leave Auckland on the weekend to explore other places but return home knowing their home is safe and warm minus a long list of uncompleted hard weekend effort to restore and repair," she says.

And apartment living meant that Robyn could return to full-time study without the distraction caused by an old home on a full site.

Their two-level first-floor apartment faces south-west. Its large double doors open to the entrance way, kitchen (with F&P appliances), dining and lounge. A bathroom and laundry cupboard are also on this lower level.

Robyn says having walls painted Resene Alabaster offers a sense of calm as well as being a suitable backdrop for their art and collectables.

A neutral coloured carpeted staircase leads to the bathroom off the landing, and then up to the two bedrooms, each with their own wardrobe.

"The layout is practical and easy-care with no wasted space," says Robyn.

"We have a three-metre dining table and a good-sized computer desk that do not overpower the space. The raised lounge area separates dining from living spaces; and offers a viewing platform to watch life outside."

She says apartment living has been ideal for her and Brian — and the other residents, many of whom are professionals or retirees — who want to lead a simple life, but have everything on their doorstep. They think the area has great cafes and bars.

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