SIZE: Land 1.69 ha, house 200sq m (approx.)
PRICE INDICATION: $1.5 million.
INSPECT: Sat/Sun 3pm-3.45pm.
SCHOOL ZONES: Riverhead Primary, Albany Senior High school.
CONTACT: Shona Jurlina, Bayleys 027 599 7022.
AUCTION: June 1.
*Plus shed and haybarn

As a schoolgirl, Althea Beeson would never have imagined that the "clubhouse" - where she and her friends would play - would one day be part of the home she would raise her family in.

Now Althea's surname is Hanna, having married Doug in 1983; but as a girl she lived on this property with her parents and sister.

"My mum and dad bought 40 acres back in the 1940s and they built a home and had two girls there. When my mum and dad passed away, my sister sold her half of the property with the house, and I kept the other half.

"Doug and I turned what was the shed, a single room, into our house. There was a wall that had the original heart kauri in it. It only has the three studs and we kept it for sentimental reasons.


"All the girls in Barrett Rd used to play in the shed. We would all get together and have our little clubhouse in there."

Althea and Doug's share of the property was 8ha although they sold some of the land to fund this house they built in the late 80s.

It is a board and batten house stained dark brown and predominantly single level apart from an office on the upper level reached by a spiral staircase.

The couple tend to use the internal entrance from the garage into the main passageway, but there is also a front door entrance.

Along that passageway is a bathroom and then, as the passage widens, two bedrooms. Next is the kitchen and its breakfast bar beside the greenhouse window. A roll-up cabinet holds breakfast essentials - coffee grinder, kettle, toaster and a microwave oven.

The view from the kitchen is a peaceful bucolic scene, fittingly suitable for a gentle start to the morning. Althea says, "The kitchen looks out over the oak trees and the paddocks, which is lovely. It is so sunny there."

Moving on from the kitchen, a spiral staircase leads up to the office on the second level, and then you come into the dining room, directly above the three steps down to the lounge.

On the other side of the dining room is the master bedroom. Another hallway runs parallel with the lounge and off that is a bigger bathroom which is also beside the main bedroom.

Back in the lounge, a glass slider opens to a spacious deck with steps down to the grass.

"The lounge looks out over the green garden area out to the shed and, at the other end, looks through the paddocks and trees and estuary where the Rangitopuni River meets the upper Waitemata Harbour. It is an ever-changing view. And all the bedrooms also have views of the estuary," says Althea.

From the lounge's deck, you can walk around the house to a private area that Althea calls her "secret garden" with seating and lime and lemon trees.

It's a property filled with happy memories from Althea's own childhood as well as those of her three children and now her three grandchildren.

In fact, one of her granddaughters has claimed one of the bedrooms as her own. "That would also be one of my favourite parts of the house," says Althea.

"Not because it is beautiful or fantastic but my granddaughter calls it her bedroom and it is like a little hideaway.

"And I just love the deck, it is lovely, spacious; the sun streams in."

For heating, there is the fireplace (with wetback connected to the hot water cylinder) and a heat pump.

When they are not at home, the couple are likely to be away on their motorbikes or sailing on their yacht they keep at Gulf Harbour.

But they also like to pop into the nearby Riverhead pub now and then. "It is thought to be New Zealand's oldest riverside pub, and it used to be quite rough back in its day," says Althea.

"It now has a fine dining restaurant and is lovely. People catch boat rides to it. There is also the Hallertau brew bar and restaurant."

The couple are selling their home now their children "have flown the coop, and the house is too big for just the two of us".

"We would really love a family to move in there. It is just a gorgeous place to raise children. My granddaughter and my daughter have been up with tears in their eyes saying we can't sell the old home.

"But we don't want to go very far. We will go up the hill and build a new house there."