When Peter Anderson was young, this was his great aunt's place, where she'd smooth his dishevelled hair while he fidgeted, eyeing the dairy and beach across the road.

Aunt Nell Littlejohn and her husband had this bungalow built around 1926.

Peter's wife Gail says: "We understand this was one of the first houses in the area, looking out over market gardens."

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Says Peter: "This was really considered to be west of Auckland in those days."

Aunt Nell and her husband never had children and kept a tidy house.

Peter suspects it may have seemed a bit like a tornado when he and his four siblings came to visit.

Years later, Peter and Gail were living in Glenfield but had a business over this way. They bought the property from family in 1978, after Nell passed away.

Peter says: "When we bought there were mainly old ladies living around here and hardly any young people.

"Aunt Nell hadn't changed the house much. It was a two-bedroom home with no garaging.

"It had a nice sense of being away from the road and a good amount of land.

"Plus, when I went up to check the condition of the roofing iron I could see lovely sea views from up there."

These days both the neighbourhood and the house where the Andersons raised their three now-adult daughters have evolved considerably.

The old dairy across the road that dished out the icecreams of Peter's youth is long gone.

But they're close to the Garnet Rd shops, the West End Tennis Club and Cox's Bay Reserve. They appreciate the quick bus ride to the central city.

Stairs lead up past the roadside double garage Peter built and the privately screened outdoor entertaining area atop it.

The couple's biggest modification to the weatherboard Californian bungalow was adding an upper level in 1990, but their earlier changes included adding a rear bedroom.

Most of the original entry level has polished matai floors and beamed ceilings. The foyer also has timber wall panelling.

Peter says: "We were told that when our early butter ships went to America, rather than come back empty they'd bring back timber such as American oak for Kiwi homes."

The front living room with plaster ceiling dome and Kent fireplace opens to a front porch, as does its neighbouring bedroom with window seat.

A separate dining room flows into a renovated rear kitchen with stone bench tops. It's well-positioned for watching children playing in the level back yard.

Completing this level are two more bedrooms, one opening to the rear grounds, a family bathroom and a laundry.

Upstairs, angular cedar-sarked ceilings top the master bedroom and its adjoining sitting area with heat pump.

They open to a balcony with splendid views over the Upper Harbour and around to Auckland City.

This is Gail's favourite place for its glorious winter sun and ever-changing views with sunsets.

She says: "You can sit up in bed up here and see the boats in the water."

The master has its own walk-in-wardrobe and bathroom. The rear office on this level can be accessed either from an upper hallway or via the master suite.

Peter's always liked the rear grounds with the big deck, paved patio and pergola intertwined with the rose 'Wedding Day'.

They've decided after 40 years it's time to downsize. They recommend it as a great home, which gave everyone in their family their own space, including ample space front and back for the girls to play.

76 WEST END RD, WESTMERE
• 4 bedrooms, 2 bathroom, 2 parking spaces.
• Land 558sq m, house 213sq m.
• Price: CV $1,975,000
• Inspect: Sat/Sun 1.45-2.15pm.
• 1pm Wed 3 Oct (unless sold prior).
• Schools: Westmere School, Pasadena Intermediate, Western Springs College.
• Contact: Jennifer Temm Munns, 027 222 1555 and David Simons, 021 277 7579, UP Real Estate, oneroof.co.nz/1191770