It's no surprise that Terry and Celeste Riches have stayed in their Remuera home for 30 years. "From the first time I came here, I never wanted to leave," says Celeste. "It is a very special place."
The north-facing house sits alongside the water in Hobson Bay and has riparian rights, along with its own pontoon. In fewer than a dozen steps Terry can be in his dinghy and rowing out into the bay to fish.
The house has been carefully designed so there are uninterrupted views from just about every room — including all five bedrooms — across the water to Tamaki Drive and Parnell, with the Sky Tower peeping over the top of the land.
Palm trees and a swimming pool give the property a resort feel, and the fact the site is tucked away and sheltered by trees to the rear means it seems to have its own microclimate.
"You can go for a walk on the path around the bay and it is blowing a gale, then you come home and it is so much warmer," says Celeste. "We are in our own little haven."
She and Terry feel lucky to have the water right on their doorstep, with no public path between them and the bay. "It is a lovely view; we have never got sick of it, not even in 30 years. It even looks beautiful at night, looking over at all the lights in Parnell."
They can watch cruise ships glide by in the distance, and kayakers navigating through the mangroves. The bird life is amazing, says Celeste, pointing out a pair of herons sunning themselves alongside the swimming pool.
"I don't think there can be many other places where you can get all of this, but be so close to the city."
The multi-level house was designed by an architect as his own home. Its special features include extensive use of black marble, including for the stairs leading from the entrance up to the main lounge, and in the surrounds of the fireplace in that room.
During a trip to Egypt, Celeste and Terry were captivated by the use of white marble.
After they returned, they had it installed on the floors in the kitchen and adjoining family room. It complements the existing marble and gives the house an opulent feel.
The lounge opens to an expansive deck fitted with glass balustrades. This room also leads to a study, and has stairs up to the dining area which adjoins the kitchen and family room.
Like just about every other room in the house, the kitchen has great views. There's plenty of storage space, including a pantry tucked under the staircase, and black granite benchtops.
Sliding doors from the family room open to another deck, which gets used a lot in summer. "The decks are great for entertaining," says Celeste. "We have the barbecue going, the kids in the pool — it's a bit of a party house."
Also on this level is a guest bathroom and a huge laundry. Stairs lead down to the double garage, which has a workshop on one side, and a multi-purpose room on the other.
This room has ranch sliders out to the flat lawn and its own external access, which means it could also make a great work-from-home space. Along with the garage, there is also off-street parking for several cars.
On the top floor are five bedrooms including a master bedroom with en suite. A bedroom at the far end, that could make another lounge, office, or playroom, has an external door to a path that goes down to the swimming pool and a rock cave.
The house is handy to the Remuera and Parnell shops and is alsoclose to a number of top private schools.
Celeste and Terry would not be leaving if it wasn't for a back injury that makes it difficult for Celeste to go up and down stairs. "We've never been tempted to leave and don't really want to go now," she says. "It has been a wonderful place to live."
34 SHORE RD, REMUERA
• 5 bedrooms, 3 bathroom, 2 parking spaces.
• Cross lease with a share in 1922sq m, house 378sq m.
• Auction: Sun March 10, 10.30am (unless sold prior).
• Inspect: Phone for times.
• Schools: Victoria Ave School, Remuera Intermediate, Auckland Grammar, Epsom Grammar.
• Contact: Steen Nielsen, Ray White, 027 557 8336.