Until two years ago, Chad and Georgina Glover barely knew anything about Birkenhead Pt. But the Howick-based couple needed tow move north when Chad's job became based in Albany and they wanted an easier commute.

"We were born and grew up in Howick. Then we lived in Sydney, and liked being central, so when we came back we didn't like living so far out," says Chad. "We searched all over, and found this. It's so central, ticked all the boxes for access to motorway and city. Then we realised there's so much heritage around here, there's always a story from neighbours. It's like old New Zealand here."

Chad and Georgina had admired the house in a Herald Homes story, but these serial renovators (they've done five or six houses together, Chad even more on his own) still wanted to make their own tweaks to live here with Chad's daughter, Scarlett, 10. The impending arrival of baby Penelope (now nearly 10 months) accelerated their plans.

White walls, shutters and blinds, and polished floors put in by the previous owner were just to their taste, which combines clean modern pieces in the heritage setting. The bathroom was perfect, with its black walls and vintage-look hexagonal tiles, old-fashioned tub and vanity.

Most of the house had been insulated, so they just needed to add a powerful gas fire in the existing brick fireplace. They updated light fixtures to LED, and closed in a wall from the open plan living room to hall to allow better furniture placement.

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But the biggest transformation for the two keen cooks was a rebuild of the kitchen, which opens to the back terraces through french doors. They removed an awkward peninsula bench and space-hogging walls of cupboards, rearranging it to a sleek pair of benches on each wall to create a galley layout where two cooks could work together.

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Navy cabinets, trimmed with brass to match the tap, are the designer touch the couple loved. Miele integrated fridge, steam and regular wall ovens gave them lots of options for cooking. (A wine fridge helps with the entertaining.)

Chad didn't want a ventilation hood over the cooktop to close in the kitchen again, so
searched for a pull-up in bench model.

The walls are now a continuation of the marble-look Caesarstone benches, trimmed with a recycled wood shelf. Bifold windows above the sink open to the deck which wraps the side of the house, so friends can pull up bar stools to chat to the cook. A built-in bar
table with steel legs is a favourite alternative to traditional dining table.

The couple have delighted in the sea views they get from the side and the front veranda, framed by mature trees. They love walking Boston terrier Rockstar to nearby beach and parks.

Outdoors the pair replaced olive trees with a trimmed hedge and a glass-topped pergola so that they can enjoy afternoons outside, adding a fireplace in rusting cortex steel. One of the three bedrooms opens into this brick-paved courtyard, giving Scarlett easy access to play outdoors.

The couple have worked with Ponsonby-based Maud Architects, who have designed additions to similar houses on the other side of the bridge.

Heritage overlays meant that resource consenting took many months, but the council has signed off on plans to expand the house with a charming boat-shed style addition to the side of the house, repeating the gabled form of the existing carport that leaves the square fronted veranda intact.

The plan adds bedrooms and bathrooms, and pushed out a dining bay beside the kitchen, and a landscape design enhances the back and front yards.

But having lined up their forever house north of the bridge, Chad has switched to working in Highbrook, so the couple are moving south.

25 RUGBY RD, BIRKENHEAD PT
• 3 bedrooms, 1 bathrooms, 1* parking space.
• Land half share, 913sq m, house 113 sq m.
• Sale price: CV $1.25 million.
• Inspect: Sat/Sun 1-1.30pm.
• Auction: Saturday July 21, 1pm (onsite).
• Schools: Birkenhead primary, intermediate, college.
• Contact: Travers Smyth. Barfoot & Thompson, 027 872 8377, barfoot.co.nz/759022
*Plus off street