It was exactly 32 years ago that Mani Murphy moved into her character-filled 1920s home in Mission Bay. She remembers it clearly because, she was eight months and one week pregnant yet Telecom refused to speed up the process of installing a phone line, which made her nervous.

Her husband explained the situation to the the family living next door and they were thrilled a baby was imminent — it meant their son Andrew would soon have a play mate — they gave Mani a key to the front door and to use their phone anytime.

It was a godsend when Mani went into labour at 2am and phoned the hospital so Jeremy arrived without drama.

"That was the start of an amazing friendship," she says. "Jeremy and Andrew were friends all through their childhood."


Mani loved the location and the home because it reminded her of where she had grown up along Paritai Drive in Orakei.

"It was a traditional house with leadlight windows and sea views. When I walked into this place I could see the sea and it had the same lovely leadlights. It just felt like home."

Two years after her second child Rosie was born, the couple began renovating, expanding the living area substantially and building a much larger kitchen that faced out to the view and caught the sun all-day across a large deck.

Mani wanted a character addition that felt like it belonged.

Again she called on neighbours over the road whose design she admired, which is how she found architect Claire Chambers.

Continuity was achieved by repeating original features like the timber floors, elegant leadlights above windows and panelled cavity doors.

Then the other neighbours next door sold their single level home to new people who added a second storey. "That was the end of the view," she recalls. "It was like reverse dominoes. We had to build another storey higher to get the view back."

Several more years, the swimming pool was created to the rear and an expansive adult retreat followed on the upper level. Here, Mani and husband Tony Rowe can spread out away from the children.

From a serene blue green bedroom it reaches through a walk-in dressing room opening into vast storage in the eaves, to a huge ensuite at one end and a relaxing sitting area at the other. The whole space opens to a lofty covered deck with a panoramic sea view.

Finally, after the children had well and truly left home, the couple decided to make better use of a huge junk room downstairs. Installing acoustic insulation to stop noising travelling above, they converted it to a large, comfortable rumpus or media room for the family they hope to move in soon.

"It's been a super family home in a fantastic neighbourhood and it deserves another family," says Mani. But they've purchased a large property on a hill overlooking the beach in Whangamata and they're excited to be building again.

• 4 bedrooms, 4 bathroom, 2* parking spaces.
• House 407sq m, Land 999sq m.
• Auction: 3 April (unless sold prior).
• Inspect: Sat/Sun 11-11.30am.
• Schools: Kohimarama School and Selwyn College.
• Contact: Karin Cooper, Barfoot & Thompson, 0274 912158.
*Plus 2 OSP