Just two days before their first baby, Liliana, now 4, was due, Andrew and Kara McMillan settled on the purchase of their family home in a quiet Westmere street. The weatherboard and tile property lies close to shops and cafes and is next door to Meola Reef, through a private gate.

"It was one of those exciting 'first time on the market for 45 years' properties and when we walked in we just loved it," says Kara.

"The vendors were such nice people and they liked the idea of a young family being in the house again."

"Our long-term plan was to live in it for a few years, and then build on the site. So, in the meantime, we did what was needed to make it comfortable, polishing the floorboards and painting it throughout."

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Kara is a marketing professional and Andrew has a freight company. They share a love of mid-century style and this house has it in buckets.

"We were really drawn to aspects such as the built-in cocktail cabinet in the lounge, and the double fireplace," Kara says.

The north-facing house has a slightly unusual but appealing layout with two bedrooms at the front, a family bathroom, and a semi-separate kitchen, which still has its original timber joinery.

23 Tirotai Cres, Westmere, Auckland. Photo / Ted Baghurst
23 Tirotai Cres, Westmere, Auckland. Photo / Ted Baghurst

With the addition of a few modern possessions it looks contemporary and it even has a walk-in pantry.

There's a sunny dining nook with window seats, and the spacious lounge opens onto a large balcony.

The master bedroom, above the double garage, is reached via a short walkway. This large bedroom has its own kitchenette, bathroom and balcony. Being self-contained, it offers a variety of living options as a teenage retreat, granny flat or guest suite.

The laundry is under the house. The well-established garden is easy-care, with plenty of room for children to play.

23 Tirotai Cres, Westmere, Auckland. Photo / Ted Baghurst
23 Tirotai Cres, Westmere, Auckland. Photo / Ted Baghurst

Last year, Andrew and Kara's son George was born seven weeks early, and spent his first seven weeks in intensive care. Now he's about to celebrate his first birthday and is doing well.

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"As well as having to cope with George being premature, we also lost Andrew's father to cancer only five weeks after he was diagnosed. It left us feeling that the children weren't going to be small for long, and we need to treasure our family time together," says Kara.

"The thought of building, with a toddler, was just too much to contemplate and as the two children get bigger, we are going to need more room."

23 Tirotai Cres, Westmere, Auckland. Photo / Ted Baghurst
23 Tirotai Cres, Westmere, Auckland. Photo / Ted Baghurst

While constructing a new home here was in the McMillan's plans, a prospective owner might opt to keep the existing house or perhaps build a second storey to take advantage of the views.

Whatever happens, it's in a friendly neighbourhood and sections this size don't come along very often — especially so close to the water.

Andrew and Kara are keeping open minds about the type of property they'll be looking for next.

"We'll just wait and see what happens," she says.

23 TIROTAI CRES, WESTMERE
• 3 bedrooms, 2 bathroom, 3 parking spaces.
• Home: 264sq m, land 723sq m.
• Auction: May 15 (unless sold prior).
• Inspect: Sat/Sun 12-12.30pm.
• Schools: Westmere School, Western Springs College.
• Contact: Chris Batchelor, Bayleys, 021 217 7026.