There was no hesitation on Tessa Penrith's part when her husband suggested they buy this loft apartment in Lorne St.

Tessa and Joe Coote bought this one-bedroom unit in the historic Lorne St Lofts building about two years ago. They wanted to keep a foothold in Auckland after selling their Birkenhead home to move with their children Joshua and Mala to Singapore and then Chicago for Joe's work with Fonterra.

"Joe is Australian, and I am South African, but we had come to Auckland and we had fallen in love with the city," says Tessa. "And we have good friends here.

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"We had been living in Auckland for five years. But after we moved overseas, Joe would still go back to Auckland," says Tessa.

"He likes to keep an eye on the property market and is always looking, and he found this on one of his work trips back. He saw it in the paper and went to look at it — and I said definitely, go for it.

"We loved the character layout, the open plan, the high ceilings, the lofty feeling and the history of the building, being an old bathhouse. It's intriguing.

"It's a lovely old building in a central position.

"It is a nice, compact, easy place to be, and even though it's in the centre of the city, it's not a noisy apartment as it is at the back of the building.

"It's light and airy and you have the outdoors spot," she says, referring to the apartment's terrace.

If the family was coming back to Auckland, usually they were on holiday. So, they liked being right in the centre for restaurants and cafes. Or they could get a cab up to Ponsonby.

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Being freehold was another important consideration.

Their apartment in on the second level, reached by walking through the corridors of this late 1880s Edwardian building that was rebuilt around 1913 as Turkish baths. It wasn't until the late 1990s that the building was converted to apartments.

As you walk towards apartment 2F, the building's stairwell displays framed drawings by architects Wade & Wade showing the plans for the baths layouts.

You get a sense of how it must have felt all those years ago to arrive in the bathhouse as you walk through the rambling corridors and up the stairways that weave their way through building.

Reaching Tessa and Joe's apartment, the door opens into the main living area with its wooden floors, double height void, and windows on both levels.

From the living space, another door opens to the tiled terrace with its outdoors table and chairs.

Back inside, tucked in a sunny corner, the kitchen has stainless steel benches, with a dining nook. There's also a toilet on this level, and then the stairs to the mezzanine bedroom that looks over the living space, and has a walk-in wardrobe and bathroom.

Tessa says the apartment is for sale as they aren't using it as often as they would like. "So we have decided to invest elsewhere."

2F/4 LORNE ST, AUCKLAND CBD
• 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 0 parking spaces.
• Land 66sq m.
• Sale price: CV $590,000.
• Inspect: Sat/Sun 1-1.30pm.
• Body corp: $11,506.37 (includes seismic retrofit upgrade fund).
• Auction: July 5.
• Contact: Mitch Agnew, Ray White, 021 445 962; Ryan Bridgman, 021 025 72294, raywhite.com/auckland-city/auckland-central/1904140/