When Kerry Leonard-Rogers lies in the hammock on her deck she contemplates tui swooping around her and water gently lapping in Chelsea Bay below.
She and husband Rod were hooked immediately by this property back in 1988; its location allowing their family to quickly track down to the bay or serenely take in sea and sunsets.
She says: "It wasn't the best day for house searching being a rainy mid-winter July afternoon, but the moment we saw the panoramic view as we stepped inside the lounge we were sold. It not only has a breathtaking daytime vista but at night looks out on sparkling urban lights."
The couple's children, Karl and Renee, took instantly to bay-side living, zig-zagging down the bank with their parents to swim in the little cove so handy to Auckland's central city.
Rod and Kerry studied views and sun for two years before Kerry's architect father masterminded the first of a couple of renovations. The single-storey home they extended stood on the former orchard of a villa once housing a Chelsea Sugar Factory manager. Kerry says of the resulting generous three-level weatherboard spread: "You feel like you're up in the trees, elevated up here. It's got a resort-like feeling. During summer months we dine most nights outside bathed in sunlight until nearly 9pm.
"As the sun fades to the west spectacular sunsets emerge. Later, the lights of ships docked at the sugar factory's wharf look like fairy lights."
Summers bring a blaze of red from the bay's pohutukawa around the bay where the family has swum, sailed, kayaked, water-skied and wake-boarded. "Living atop Chelsea Bay affords an adventure playground for a family."
Close-knit neighbourhood friendships have endured right from their children's kindergarten days. Their son befriended twin boys from a house in the bay, one of which their daughter went on to marry, with the bay and its park as the wedding venue.
They're near the northerly tip of this cul-de-sac road, 15 minutes' walk to the Birkenhead-to-Auckland City ferry. Their long driveway accesses a single parking pad and quadruple carport.
Glimpses of the sea entice as you approach the house, inside unfurling into a wide seascape on display through the lounge. Their deck takes in the Sky Tower, the distinctive Chelsea Sugar Factory and the tide and quiet bay below. "You feel like you're on the bow of a boat on this deck as it cantilevers out towards the water. We see events such as the City to Chelsea swim, the yachting and jet boat racing or occasionally Whenuapai air-show planes returning to base.
"Yet for the most part it is the silence, with only the calling of the tui that we cherish.
"Also, this is one great party house because opening up the doors to the deck doubles the size of your entertaining space."
Glass blocks in the refurbished kitchen flood light across its stone benches while delivering privacy from neighbours. The lounge, with gas fire, is bolstered by an angular family room with a conservatory-like front, soaring ceiling and heat pump.
Three bedrooms, a family bathroom and laundry complete this level. Upstairs has a mezzanine area which is useful as a study nook, two decks and the master suite. This boasts a dressing room, lovely views from its bedroom, en-suite bathroom and even its toilet. Kerry says: "To this day we never take for granted waking up to that view."
The downstairs entertainment studio with bathroom and bar can be a teen retreat, games room or fifth bedroom. Sub-tropically planted grounds incorporate patches of lawn.
Kerry and Rod have decided it's time to downsize.