Heather Fillmore has a bit of advice for people who don't want a beachfront house — for Pete's sake don't view it, you may end up buying it.
"It was 15 years ago. We were about to build another country house in Pukekohe — we'd even done the plans — when I saw this house advertised," she says.
"I said to (husband) John, 'It's a waste of time, but let's go look'. We looked through the door at the beach and we bought it. People were a bit shocked, but it has been a great place."
The couple figured it would be the perfect gathering spot for their three kids, six grandchildren and, now, two great grandchildren.
Built in 1988, the three-storey property at the Hauraki end of Takapuna beach is set high enough above the sand to ensure privacy from walkers below, but close enough to collect the breezes and watch the action from the front terrace.
Previous owners had stepped the garden down to the beach wall, leaving gracious old pohutukawa trees for shade and to frame the view.
John says there's always something to watch from the decks and window seats — the views across to Little Barrier and Tiritiri Matangi and the constant water sports.
Underneath the house there's a huge man cave where John stores his SeaLegs boat and drives it down the path, through the gate and into the water.
Heather has her artist's cave on the top floor, with a deck, a window seat, plenty of storage and a sink for her to run her decoupage classes.
The original owners of the house had designed it to be fully accessible for wheelchairs. As well as a ground floor bedroom with accessible bathroom and door to the swimming pool in the back yard, there's a modern lift that serves all three floors.
Heather and John have used the covered carport and its ramp access as a shady dining and barbecue space when the summer sun gets too hot.
With John's construction experience and Heather's years as an interior designer (she helped consultant Nanette Cameron with her classes and tours), it didn't take the Fillmores long to add their own touches to the classic house.
John repeated in the formal sitting and dining room the black and white tile floors of the entry lobby, study, kitchen and family room.
Heather adding stylish black and white shell-printed cushions, their pumpkin silk lining repeated on the padded wall of the dining room.
Both this room and the family room open to the decks. A huge fireplace makes the formal room a cosy gathering spot in winter.
They recovered the family room's built-in circular banquette in leather, adding a pop of red in a feature wall.
Heather updated the kitchen, but kept a bar upstand to hide mess from the rest of the room, repeating the black and white scheme in white cabinets and black granite counters.
Windows here fold back to serve the outside deck.
Upstairs is another sitting room, a library, and TV spot. Heather indulged her feminine side with walls of pink toile, repeating it in smaller touches in the master bedroom.
They upgraded their wardrobe and master bath, but kept the original little makeup table nook, which has views all across the beach and water.
The Fillmores have loved sharing their city beach house, but with all the family based in Pukekohe, they have decided to move there.
50 HAURAKI RD
• 4 bedrooms, 4 bathroom, 3 parking spaces.
• House 410sq m, Land 1764sq m.
• Tender: Nov 15, 5pm.
• Inspect: Sat 10am to noon.
• Schools: Hauraki Primary, Belmont Intermediate, Takapuna Grammar.
• Contact: Matthew Smith, Ray White, 021 924 435; Paul Barneo 021 920 745.