When Dean Maxwell's parents Ray and Charlotte bought this section in St Heliers to build on in the 1960s it was in farm land. "Ray planted potatoes while the home was being built and would dig them up for dinner," says Dean's wife Tanya.

Ray and Charlotte incorporated a one-bedroom flat on the ground floor for Charlotte's mother Evelyn, while Dean, his sister Michelle and their parents lived upstairs.

The separate living quarters proved invaluable in the 38 years Ray and Charlotte stayed there — the flat morphed into space for Charlotte's lampshade business and later for Michelle's fashion line.

Ray and Charlotte loved to entertain and the property was perfect. But in 1997 they decided to build another new home.

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That gave Dean and Tanya the opportunity to buy the property so Dean could set up his electronics business downstairs. He turned one of the lounges into a demonstration home theatre with projector and screen.

After several years, Ray and Charlotte wanted to move back and utilise the digs downstairs again.

Dean and Tanya called on Xsite Architects to upgrade the downstairs, turning it into a two-bedroom home all on one level with a lift so Ray and Charlotte could come upstairs easily.

"It was great," says Tanya. "Our 12-year-old daughter Taylor could come home and have afternoon tea with her grandparents and be looked after while we were at work.

"Although it is completely self-contained, the flat provided great communal living on-site, but everyone was still separate."

Charlotte still entertained, so a modern kitchen with lots of storage was a priority.

The living space opens to a large outdoor dining area beneath a Louvretech canopy and four ceiling heaters that keep it warm in cooler evenings. The main bedroom has an extra-wide door to the en suite.

When Ray and Charlotte passed away, Dean and Tanya moved downstairs and continued to upgrade upstairs to the same high standard as the flat.

A new kitchen opens on to the dining room and lounge. The upstairs has never been lived in before so, for buyers, it will be like a new home.

Says Dean: "We wanted to provide options for ourselves and anybody else, so they can live in the house in different ways, either a five-bedroom home or four bedrooms and one or two bedrooms downstairs, or even a home and income.

"It would be great for a family with teens or a blended family."

All the spaces are particularly big and surrounded by sheltered outdoor living areas. A room in the garden is used as a gym. The family is moving to Clevedon.

54 SAYEGH ST, ST HELIERS**
• 5 bedrooms, 4 bathroom, 1* parking spaces.
• House 274sq m, land 1358sq m.
• Auction: Wed 17 April (unless sold prior).
• Inspect: Sat/Sun, 3-3.30pm or by appointment.
• Schools: Glendowie College, Kohimarama School, St Ignatius School.
• Contact: Karin Cooper, Barfoot & Thompson, 0274 912 158.
*Plus 5 OSP.
**Legal home and income.