When Diana and Ian Hay bought their Whangaparaoa property nearly 40 years ago, they chose it for its proximity to the beach at Manly, where Diana had been going since she was four years old.
The house itself was the original farm workers' cottage — a two bedroom bungalow with a glassed in verandah which was past its best.
"Even so, it was a struggle to buy it even in those days," Diana says.
But they stayed in the cottage until their children were teenagers, adding a caravan for overflow guests who turned up in the holidays.
Then 20 years ago, they knocked it over ("it was just about falling down," Diana says) and built a brand new home on the beachfront site.
The design brief was simple enough — they wanted a spacious family home where they could have friends and family to stay, with great entertaining spaces indoors and out.
"We've always entertained a lot and had lots of people around."
The footprint was prepared by an architect and Diana and Ian, a now-retired builder, designed the interior themselves.
The house suited their needs for many years, but recently they gave it a total refurbishment, contracting an architect for the renovation.
"We did the floors, the joinery, the roof — everything," Diana says.
The result is a classic, elegant home with a twist — a distinctive turret room which suits the seaside setting.
Off-white weatherboards, a formal designer garden and a paved outdoor entertaining area with a fireplace provide an appealing entry, with the house set well back from a separate double garage across an exposed-aggregate parking area.
Inside, four bedrooms, five bathrooms and three living areas continue to fulfil the requirement for plenty of entertaining space and room for guests.
The interior follows a coastal theme with white painted walls and ceilings and pale taupe floors of Italian tile throughout the living areas.
"Tiled floors are great at the beach," Diana says.
The kitchen with its marbled Caesarstone benches opens to casual dining and sitting areas, and an adjoining lounge with a gas fireplace. This space can be closed off with bi-fold timber doors.
Glass bi-folds open the area up to outdoor living spaces and garden both front and back.
The upstairs bedrooms open via french doors to glass-fronted balconies with beautiful views of the ocean, while beneath them, the living areas open to another paved entertainment area and a level lawn.
The turret was designed as a space where Ian could work from home, with the expansion views providing both inspiration and distraction.
Diana's favourite room is the sunroom, a serene, private space looking across the private back garden to the sea.
"I love it because it gets the sun, has the view, it's quiet and we could close it off when there were lots of teenagers in the house."
The teenagers — and the adults — have always taken full advantage of the beach, swimming, sailing, fishing and water-skiing, and have also enjoyed the shared use of a tennis court adjacent to the house.
Now, though, Diana and Ian have chosen to downsize, but they're not giving up on the beach lifestyle.
"The bulk of kids now have their own beach properties so we can go and stay with them."
20A GLAMIS AVE, MANLY, WHANGAPARAOA
• 4 bedrooms, 5 bathroom, 2 parking spaces.
• Land 1201sq m, house 253sq m.
• Inspect: Today 11-11.45am.
• Schools: Whangaparaoa College, Whangaparaoa school, Stanmore Bay school.
• Contact: Greg Gibson, UpRealEstate, 021 940 048