There was no mucking around when Brian and Bev Eden decided to move from South Auckland to Whangaparāoa 14 years ago. On their first house-hunting excursion to the peninsula, they looked at a small selection of properties and bought the first one they saw, just five hours after viewing it.
"We liked it straight away," says Brian. "It was close to the beach, it was on the flat, it was nice and modern. We knew it was the one for us."
The couple, who moved north to be close to Bev's sister, had never bought a house before. Builder Brian had always built their homes.
The two-storey brick and plaster Manly house, which was built in 1997, met his high standards. He was careful to check out and approve the cladding beforehand — and he has appreciated how low maintenance it is.
Having a landscaped section that is paved with no lawns to mow means he's been able to spend more time at the beach or on his boat.
An area to one side of the house, accessed by a gate, was the perfect spot to keep the boat and tractor. And the home's location — just 200m from the beach — made it easy for fishing trips.
One of the first things Brian did was put a deck on the side of the house, reached through the living room's ranch sliders, and he covered this with a curved canopy.
"It's like having another room. We use it a lot," says Brian. "It gets a nice breeze when it is warm, but in winter I still have lunch out there when it is not too cold."
On the other side of the house, the paved area that used to be home to the boat and tractor also has space for a raised vege garden and a shed.
"The shed is one of my favourite places. It has power so there's lots I can do in there," says Brian, who is now retired.
Inside the house, the rooms are generous. The main living area downstairs includes a roomy kitchen with plenty of storage, and a lounge with great indoor-outdoor flow. The master bedroom is on the ground floor, and has an en suite plus plenty of wardrobe space.
Upstairs are three further bedrooms, one of which is used as an office, and a family bathroom.
Apart from the blue kitchen, the Edens have kept the decor a neutral cream to suit their style, meaning the rooms look light and bright. And the house has been well maintained over the years they've lived there.
"There are a few things you could do to update it if you wanted to, but you don't have to," says Brian.
He and Bev have loved the location, not only because of the proximity to the beach, but because the house is also close to great bowls and tennis clubs and Manly village, which has a good selection of shops and eateries. It is also a short drive along the peninsula to Silverdale's thriving retail centre.
"It has certainly changed a lot in that time, there's so much more here now," says Brian.
One thing that hasn't changed is the friendliness of the locals. The couple instantly found Manly welcoming, with a great community feel.
"It's been a really wonderful place to live and we're pleased we came here. But we are getting on a bit now and our lives are changing so it is time to move," says Brian, adding that they are shifting to be closer to their grandchildren.
They'll miss livng here, he says, recalling how when they moved to Whangaparāoa while he was still working, "driving home felt like you were going on holiday. You feel lucky to live somewhere like that".
4C LAURENCE ST, MANLY, WHANGAPARAOA
• 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 parking spaces
• Land ¼ share of 2024sq m, house 220sq m.
• Sale price: $1,115,000.
• Inspect: Sun 1-1.30pm.
• Schools: Whangaparāoa School and College.
• Contact: Harcourts agents Allan Taylor, 0274 745 845; Karen Taylor 0274 723 637, harcourts.co.nz/WH25473