Colin and Valerie Langford had lived in Mairangi Bay for 38 years, ever since they were married. They'd updated their home over the years but "it was getting a bit long in the tooth," says Colin.
So when a neighbour knocked on the door and asked if she could buy it, they leapt at the opportunity, which meant saying goodbye to nagging thoughts about renovating. "We wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle," says Valerie.
Pukekohe appealed because it's a big little town with lots of facilities, yet it feels like living in the country, only 50km from Auckland. It's well connected to the city with three trains every hour.
"There are quite a few little cafes and restaurants. Everybody stops and talks to you in the street. When we saw this almost new home on the hill in Pukekohe, we thought, wow!"
Part of a subdivision developed by the Aarts family who owned it when the whole area was planted in onions, the home was fresh, bright and airy.
The couple loved the Signature Homes design with its big open living and dining space that faces north and gets the sun all day.
"With five sets of glass sliders, you can open up the whole living area. It feels like you're living outdoors," says Valerie.
Behind the island bench which sits diagonally across the space, a corner kitchen has tons of storage and even more in a large scullery.
Valerie likes the fact it's not tucked away. She can stand behind the bench and chat to everyone and says the self-cleaning induction oven is brilliant.
A double-sided gas fire between the family area and lounge makes the living spaces cosy and a heat transfer system pumps warmth through to the four bedrooms.
Though it's fully insulated and double glazed, "it's a very warm home — but easy to cool down in summer," says Valerie.
The generous master bedroom suite has a big walk-in dressing room next to the en suite.
It faces north, like the living areas, and opens outdoors with a view over the lawn across Pukekohe to Auckland. They can even see Rangitoto Island and the Sky Tower in the distance.
The grandchildren have claimed their own bedrooms, which are all sizeable with good wardrobes and there is a big linen cupboard along the hall. In the family bathroom, a bath has a waterfall tap, offering constant amusement for the children.
But it was not just the house that appealed. The neighbours too have been amazing. "The morning after we moved in, there was a knock at the door and a neighbour brought us scones. The whole street came over to welcome us."
Although they love the home and Pukekohe, sadly Colin and Valerie admit they rushed in and did not think the move through properly.
"We have two grandchildren living in Browns Bay," says Colin. "Their parents are flight attendants. So when we have to step in and look after the children, we're up and down there like a yoyo. We need to be closer. Our other daughter lives in Helensville and she needs us too.
"If we could pack up the street and take it with us, that would be fantastic," says Valerie.
Colin and Valerie are planning on moving back up the coast to cut back on their travel.
"With six years of its Master Build warranty to run, it would equally suit retirees like us or a family because there is ample space and it is in a big fully fenced level garden."
6 STONEDALE DR, PUKEKOHE
• 4 bedrooms, 2 bathroom, 2* parking spaces.
• House: 240sq m, land 930sq m.
• Price: $1,185,000.
• Inspect: Sat/Sun 3-3.45pm or by private appointment.
• Schools: Hill School, Buckland School, Pukekohe High School, Pukekohe Intermediate.
• Contact: Kris Game, Harcourts, 027 236 3225.
*Plus 2 OSP