Ruth and James Blair bought this transitional bungalow thinking they'd start a family here before jetting off to live in New York — but their plans evolved along with the property.
Ruth says: "This was our first home, bought before we had children, and now I laugh thinking about how much our plans and life have changed.
"In many ways the charm of this house and the neighbourhood made us realise there was more to life than a New York lifestyle."
The couple bought here eight years ago, after living in Melbourne. They had both worked in advertising but Ruth retrained as a yoga teacher.
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The 1920s bungalow still had scrim on its walls. But it impressed them. "It felt solid and substantial, there was enough space, and it felt like it'd be a good place to raise a family," says Ruth.
They've kept the home's footprint but renovated extensively around having their two children, William, 7, and Florence Eve, 3.
Along the way they discovered a time capsule of sorts in one of the walls — a collectable card about being virtuous and an old newspaper recounting the existence of jewel thieves targeting Auckland society wives.
Ruth says: "I promised the house that we would follow its natural lines and reveal its natural beauty. I wanted it to feel like a light-filled oasis, very serene."
The Blairs had the front fence installed, allowing for space between palings so they didn't feel totally cut off from the world.
A driveway runs down the side of the house to parking for two cars under the extensive rear deck.
Ruth wanted the large front garden with level lawn to feel whimsical and eclectic.
It includes a sandpit under a step and an ancient rose. There's a round window near the front door.
The floors inside are polished kauri and the decor neutral and soothing.
Ruth says: "I was obsessive about finding exactly the right shade of white paint and ended up choosing Dulux Waitoa Quarter, which is what the owner of 'Father Rabbit' homewares uses inside her shops. Everything seems to go with it."
The three bedrooms are off the hall. The front master bedroom has a wall of outfitted wardrobes topped by cupboards.
William's bedroom has a semi-circle of magnetic French blue paint on the wall — a compromise seeing he wanted an entirely blue bedroom.
The renovated bathroom is beautiful with its marble-look tiling, pedestal bath, distinctive vanity and sleek shower.
The kitchen, with a big island designed by their interior designer friend Lauren Hare, is clever. A wall of doors hides the cooktop and oven.
Ruth says: "It's brilliant for shutting away mess when you're entertaining."
This lounge opening to the rear deck is Ruth's favourite room, spacious and light-filled, showcasing its 3m stud height with curtains that waft with the breeze.
Lauren also designed the roomy private rear deck with built-in seating, moveable outdoor daybeds, vine-wrapped pergola, and privacy, thanks to plants in surrounding window boxes.
The Blairs spent around $200,000 on the deck but say it transformed what was once a poky deck. The rebuild also created covered dual parking underneath.
Ruth says: "James loves this deck — it's his weekend spot and makes you feel like you're on holiday."
The couple adore the neighbourhood, especially nearby Seabreeze Cafe and Westmere school and its grove of pohutakawa across the road.
But Ruth has ridden horses from a young age and wants their children to grow up with horses and an orchard.
So the couple plan to move to where this will be possible.
50 GARNET RD, WESTMERE
SIZE (more or less): Land 1/2 share of 938sq m, house 118sq m.
INSPECT: Call agent to view.
AUCTION: Thur 7 Feb.
SCHOOLS: Westmere School, Pasadena Intermediate, Western Springs College.
CONTACT: Robyn Ellson, 021 800 891, Ray White.