Leigh and Martin Caughey are the third set of interior designers to own this quaint Remuera villa which started life as a railway workers' cottage just over 90 years ago.
As soon as you step inside, it's easy to understand why.
The 1920 villa, halfway down Middleton Rd on its elevated eastern side and facing west to Newmarket, was transformed about 10 years ago into a surprisingly spacious home by an extensive renovation which also maximised its indoor-outdoor flow.
Leigh and Martin, who also have a family home in Rotorua, had been living for six years in a Broadway Park apartment just up the road from 67 Middleton while their children, Kate, now 28, and Jeremy, 23, were at school and university in Auckland.
Leigh was out walking the dog one day when she stumbled upon the Middleton Rd property and was curious to look inside.
"We had no intention of moving from our apartment, but I was immediately taken by the spaciousness and quaintness of this house," says Leigh. "It didn't need any structural work done and we liked that it would be low maintenance."
With her background in interior design - the Caugheys own an Auckland-based home staging and interior design company called The Look - Leigh instantly envisaged cosmetic changes that would make it look its best.
Previous owners had added a second storey and an extra bedroom on the ground level to what was originally a modest, single level house whose design would have taken little account of the sun.
They had also opened up the east-facing back of the house with colonial panelled bifold doors. These lead from the open-plan kitchen and dining room down wide black slate steps to an elegant courtyard that catches the sun until late afternoon.
Designed as a French-style parterre, the courtyard is screened from neighbours to the south by a tall star jasmine hedge and from the shared driveway on its cross-leased section by an elegant trellis.
Beautifully maintained white shell paths are edged by squares of miniature mondo grass and a small fountain is surrounded by low, topiaried box hedging punctuated by neat spiralled box trees that complete the formal, French look.
At the back of the garden is a large single garage with stairs leading up to a spacious loft that makes an excellent teenage retreat but could also be a large home office or guest quarters.
A large granite benchtop, sink, storage cupboards and a fridge have been installed in the garage as catering facilities for entertaining large crowds. Bathroom plumbing behind storage cupboards in this space means it could also be used as a granny flat.
Leigh and Martin's palette of greys, charcoals and whites throughout the house's interior give it an airy, peaceful feel.
On either side of the central hallway at the front are two large bedrooms. One has French doors opening on to a cute front porch that traps the late-afternoon sun.
The other presently doubles as a second living room.
Beyond the main living room, which adjoins the kitchen but works well as a discreet space, stairs lead up to a large master bedroom, en suite and an extraordinarily generous walk-in wardrobe.
A Juliet balcony off this bedroom looks down over the parterre and across the canopies of large, established fruit trees in an orchard at the bottom of a neighbour's garden.
Features in the house include solid oak flooring in the main living areas, full insulation, a sound system in every room and TVs in most rooms including in the master bedroom, one of the other bedrooms and the kitchen.
SIZE: Land half-share of 782sq m, house approx 159sq m.
PRICE: $1.495 million.
INSPECT: By appointment.
ON THE WEB: kellands.co.nz/87954
SCHOOL ZONES: Victoria Avenue Primary, Remuera Intermediate School, Auckland Grammar School, Epsom Girls Grammar School.
CONTACT: Fleur Denning, Kellands Real Estate, ph 021 0272 3624.
FEATURES: Spacious, quiet character villa in pristine condition with designer courtyard and decor, close to Newmarket shops. Single garage plus double off-street parking.