The neighbours here know what 10-year-old Jaden Gamman is up to when he turns up with a bucket. He's not pinching fruit — he's gathering cricket balls he has hit over the fence.
By all accounts, it was like this when the original villa on the property was home to earlier generations of children, back when there were no fences to reign them in. Back lawns were for neighbouring children to use.
Micah and Meenal Gamman and their children Jaden and Indi occupy the house a developer built to replace the original villa. They're the first owners and have been here for seven years.
They bought while on holiday from Australia, after finding themselves in a leafy valley close to Remuera's arterial routes.
From the street, they could make out the rear, double-storey plastered brick house surrounded by tall trees and flanked by two established homes.
It took them just 10 minutes to confirm their purchase. "We had similar tastes, we just knew what we both liked," says Meenal.
They'd seen enough to confirm the location, the lifestyle options and the flow of light-filled spaces from the double-height atrium upstairs.
Back they went to Australia. They weren't bothered that they couldn't remember the details. "We had to phone the agent from Australia to ask him questions about what we'd seen," says Micah.
Three months later they returned to New Zealand and their new house. Most memorable that first day was how privacy provided by the trees and the lofty scale inside made the house feel so warm.
"It felt nice and sunny, and I hate the cold," says Meenal, an environmental scientist.
There were plenty of practical options from the five bedrooms, five toilets, three en suites, three living areas, two dining areas and two barbecue decks. "You're never short of space here whatever you're doing," she says.
They and their two children Jaden (10) and Indi (7) laugh about the fact that there are more toilets than people here.
When they add dinner guests into the mix, they'll generally gravitate to the formal living and dining area directly off the foyer.
For casual entertaining, there is the family room by the kitchen or the back deck. For Meenal, the high-gloss black kitchen is one of her favourite features, with its engineered stone benches and its three eye-level ovens. Then there's the nearby laundry and scullery for the business end of family life.
The guest wing with en suite is off the foyer. The children have their own lounge at one end upstairs near their bedrooms. Their parents' bedroom is eye-level with the trees at the other end.
"We've got more inside than out here and we need more outside for the kids", says Micah. For Meenal, it is the scale of the house she'll miss most. "It's going to be hard to give this up because we've grown so used to the height within the house."
4A RAKAU ST, REMUERA
• 5 bedrooms, 4 bathroom, 2 parking spaces.
• Auction: May 19, 2019.
• Contact: Steen Nielsen, Ray White Remuera, 027 5578 336