They call her Beatrice. She's in her 40s and looking great for her age. She has a unique style and is searching for someone to love her as much as she's been adored over the past few decades.

"We know it's a bit strange talking about a house like she's a person, but she's got such a strong personality," says Beatrice's owner, Susan Bennett. "She feels like part of the family."

Susan, her partner and their blended family of three children are so fond of Beatrice — named after the street she's in — that when they first saw the house they said , "She's wearing her best pretty frock."

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And they sometimes think that instead of just advertising Beatrice for sale, they should put her on an online dating site where she'll hopefully find someone special.

This is the first time the multi-level 1970s home has been on the market for 20 years.

The previous owners, who bought it in 1998, were friends of Susan's partner, and whenever he visited he asked them to let him know if they planned on selling.

They decided to move on in 2006 and he bought it from them privately.

It is practical and versatile, says Susan, with great indoor/outdoor flow and a flexible layout.

But what they have loved most is Beatrice's captivating character, such as the cathedral ceilings, with wooden beams, and the quirky triangular windows. "You don't see very many homes like this," says Susan.

The house is in an enclave of homes designed by the same architect. Steps lead down to the front door, which opens into the dining room and a table with a great outlook through a picture window to the garden. The adjoining kitchen has the same outlook.

The media room next door to the dining room has a cosy feel, thanks in part to the sarked wooden ceiling. Two sets of french doors lead from this room to a sheltered paved patio. Built-in seating makes it the perfect al fresco dining spot. "There's even a lemon tree right there for the G and Ts," jokes Susan.

Several other spots in the garden are ideal for relaxing, including a deck under a pergola and a totara bench that gets the last of the sun's rays.

Mature trees have turned the garden into a sub-tropical suburban oasis that attracts lots of birdlife. "It is lovely sitting out there," says Susan. "It's peaceful and private — we're not overlooked."

The garden can be enjoyed from a deck accessed from the dining room, and another off the two downstairs bedrooms. One of those rooms has stairs to a loft that has provided invaluable storage, and been a great play space for children.

A study near the kitchen has been used as an extra bedroom in the past, while the master bedroom is upstairs and has a peep of the sea.

Next door on this upper level is the generous lounge, which has french doors opening to a veranda that looks out over the garden and neighbouring bush.

The location has been great, says Susan, noting that it's a short drive to the motorway and easy access to Northcote, Birkenhead and Takapuna.

But it's Beatrice that has a special place in their hearts.

"Beatrice is unique and we're going to miss her."

1/15 BEATRICE AVE, HILLCREST
• 3 bedrooms, 3 bathroom, 2 parking spaces.
• Land 770sq m, house 150sq m.
• Price: $1,180,000
• Inspect: Sat/Sun 12-12.30pm.
• Schools: Sunnybrae Normal, Takapuna Intermediate, Northcote College.
• Contact: Jo Glancy, Harcourts, 021 994 874, 09 486 9234, harcourts.co.nz/TK32674