As the family of late furniture designer Bob McDonald and his wife Jan Rodwell matured, they grew their once-modest bungalow into a versatile five-bedroom home.

Thirty-five years ago when family therapist Jan was a single parent with two young boys, she bought a small 1930s bungalow in Westmere.

Jan says: "It was pretty closed-off to the sun but I liked its land and its aspect."

Jan's mother moved into a one-bedroom semi-contained flat they added for her.

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Then Jan met Bob whose pared-down, refined yet functional designs were later showcased by the well-known Iroko outdoor suite, which won him a New Zealand best design award in 2001. They married and had two children.

Jan says: "What were we to do? We had this small bungalow with a flat on one side, so we ended up doing this huge renovation."

She and Bob sold some of their once-larger backyard to finance renovations, having learned that the children spent much of their outdoor time 350m away enjoying Coxs Bay Reserve.

They did this initially through a cross-lease but the properties are now being made freehold. This one's freehold 455sq m title is to be issued upon settlement.

Two architects helped evolve their home. Paul Seton designed the major renovation which took the home upwards and outwards around 1990 and family friend Pip Cheshire conceived some design iterations which were implemented after Bob passed away around five years ago.

Jan says: "This house has worked so well for our family. And who would think you're so central looking out at this green and sea?"

Number 20 is walking distance from the reserve, Westmere School and Western Springs College and 500m from Westmere village where Jan often catches up with two of her children, who own Seabreeze cafe.

A front off-street parking spot behind hedging supplements a single garage with workshop area down a side driveway. Passers-by may not realise the home's positioning delivers lovely sea views from the other side.

Paul wanted to avoid that "pop-top" look so designed a front facade to integrate the new level with the original one.

The layout is versatile; the front door is down a covered corridor while a second entrance accesses an eastern two-room office-with-kitchenette and bedroom-lounge set-up able to integrate with the main home. For the last decade, it has housed Jan's family therapy practice after long offering her mother semi self-contained living.

Inside the main front door, some of the home's polished wooden floors gleam in the front lounge.

A snug with a wood burner bolstering central heating prefaces the north-west facing kitchen-dining which looks seawards. Jan wrote her book about step-families in this dining room with side study nook. It flows out to a covered deck.

"The different spaces give you flexibility and areas for adults and children, yet you can still have a big gathering here."

The deck overlooks the rear lawn, organic vege gardens and fruit trees including the plum tree the couple married under.

Completing this level are a renovated bathroom-laundry and an angular bedroom with sea view.

Jan can't decide if she most loves the outdoor room-deck or upstairs' stunning master bedroom looking at the sea. Its rear wall sleekly houses its entry door, wardrobing and en suite access to the second bathroom shared by this level.

Two bedrooms opening to another deck and attic storage complete the layout.

Jan is downsizing, buying less than 2km away, handy to her children and six grandchildren.

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