When Glenn and Karen Tasker swapped a villa in the 'burbs for an inner-city apartment, they felt they still had the advantages of living in a home but none of the disadvantages.
Their Quay West apartment is spacious, and has wraparound decks where they can relax, keep a barbecue and grow herbs.
"When I moved to an apartment building, priority was that it would have a deck so we could have a form of garden and a barbecue for outdoor living," says Karen.
But, unlike the villa they had in Mt Eden, their apartment is warmer in winter, and they like how secure they feel, knowing entrance to their level is by swipe card only.
"It's all about location and safety," says Glenn. "We don't have to panic about someone breaking in. When we walk into our apartment, it is exactly as we left it."
The couple had been living in Mt Eden for 17 years before they moved to the inner city.
They have since lived in three apartments in the 32-level, 21-year-old Quay West building, moving upwards from level 8 to 17 until they bought what they considered the ideal north-west corner apartment on level 19.
"It took us a while to get this one," says Glenn. "They don't come up for sale very often — and they usually go to people already living in the building."
Their apartment and its decks measure 132sq m, allowing views over the city and harbour to the Waitakeres to the west and out to the Hauraki Gulf as far as Great Barrier Island on a clear day.
They have also liked watching the construction of the 36-level tower across the road, which replaces the Downtown shopping centre.
"It occupies the same footprint as the former Downtown centre and doesn't impact on our harbour views," says Karen.
Quay West's location has been perfect for their family — close to Karen's work and for their daughter during her university years.
They enjoy the markets at Wynyard Quarter and Parnell's La Cigale, and the wide choice of eateries. They can walk to Parnell, Ponsonby and the Domain. And apartment living allows them to be spontaneous.
"My daughter can ring me at work and say 'Let's go to the theatre', and I can be there within half an hour of leaving work," says Karen.
"I don't have to worry about finding a park in town if I go out for a meal; I don't have to think about drink-driving. And if I want to go to Newmarket or Sylvia Park, I catch the train."
They have also modernised the apartment's decor. Dark carpets were replaced with lighter shades. Walls were painted in Dulux Mason Bay in the living area, Cardrona in the kitchen. They replaced kitchen appliances; tidied up the bathrooms.
They say there are regular residents' functions. Glenn chaired the body corp for a couple of years.
"It's such a big building and the body corp functions well and has a great committee."
Residents also have use of the building's heated pool, spa, sauna, gym and cafe; and Glenn and Karen's apartment sale includes one car park.
APT 1904 QUAY WEST, 8 ALBERT ST, CITY
• 2 bedrooms, 2 bathroom, 1 parking spaces.
• 132sq m (inc balcony).
• Price: $1.47 million.
• Inspect: Sun Aug 19, 11.30am-12 noon.
• Body corp: $13,820.25 a year.
• Contact: Belinda Illingworth, Barfoot & Thompson, 021 999 800, barfoot.co.nz/761048