When they moved from Auckland to picturesque Waiheke Island in 2015 Tim Groenendaal and Xavier Black were looking for a simple lifestyle and that's exactly what they found.
"We were particularly keen to buy an older house and we looked for ages," says Xavier, who had then been working in the corporate world.
"In the end, we even put fliers in the letterboxes of properties we liked and eventually the right house arrived on the market so we made an offer straight away," she said.
The couple believe that they are only the third or fourth owners and they say that the 1920s house was practically original inside, save for some minor renovations in the 1970s.
Bringing it back to life became a passionate project and every detail is the result of much thought and research, including the exterior colour scheme, which honours its heritage.
"We had some great stuff to work with," says Tim, a veteran of the entertainment industry who now specialises in providing luxury options for visitors to Waiheke, sharing his enthusiasm for the island, its beaches, vineyards, eateries and activities.
"We found the original floorboards and the tongue-and-groove panelling on the walls, which was hidden by layers of wallpaper."
The restoration retained the original footprint of the house but with some clever tweaks, Tim and Xavier were able to open it right up for modern living.
The main living space is large and airy with french doors to the front deck and sensational views towards Auckland city.
"The sunsets over Mount Wellington are really beautiful," says Tim.
The kitchen was a labour of love and the pair are thrilled with the result.
"It's surprisingly spacious and we love the look of the concrete benchtops and the plywood joinery," says Xavier.
There are three bedrooms beside the living area and they've all been freshly painted in soft, luminous shades. The master and the spare are both generous while the back room would be perfect for a little one, and has an extra little nook that's perfect for storing toys.
The bathroom has black tapware on the vanity unit and in the shower, while the laundry is hidden handily in a big cupboard which also has lots of storage space.
Xavier says visitors often say it has a Scandinavian feel.
"And maybe they're right — I just love the simplicity of it all."
She says the rear patio, with its concrete table, proved wonderful for entertaining when family members gathered for Christmas.
"There was room for everybody and the indoor to outdoor flow was seamless."
Both Tim and Xavier found the building process invaluable in terms of integrating into island life.
"Obviously we were quite new to the island, and before long all our tradies were our friends too.
"Many of our neighbours had renovated their own homes and knew what we were going through. They were really kind and supportive."
Having finished their project Tim and Xavier have some new ideas for the future, still in Surfdale.
"We have everything we need here, including a pet-friendly beach for labrador Jessie . . . it's a great way of life," says Xavier.
15 ALISON RD, WAIHEKE ISLAND
• 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 0 parking spaces.
• Land, 830sq m, house 84sq m.
• Price: Interest expected from mid-$1 millions.
• Inspect: Sat/Sun 1-2pm.
• Set date of sale: Mon, Oct 29.
• Schools: Te Huruhi School, Waiheke High School.
• Contact: Jeff Hazell, Ray White, 021 806 821, oneroof.co.nz/1194947