It may have something to do with living in a six-sided hexagon house, because David and his partner Claudine are certainly as busy as bees.

"We can't sit on the beach to relax," says David. "We call it 'active relaxing', we're always going into the bush, hiking and camping.

"There are no lawns to mow, but when we were working on this house, we had a 'rule' of one weekend working hard, the next going camping."



The couple, both North Shore born and bred, love the mixture of 1950s/1970s houses that typify Browns Bay.

Five years ago, they spotted a house by the master of the suburb's out-there '70s architecture, Ian Burrows, and put in an offer.

The three-storied house, built in 1980, used a grid of 2.1 metre hexagons that fascinated engineer David, while Claudine saw it as a chance to justify adding to her collection of mid-century furniture, accessories and glassware.

Many of their hiking weekends to remote parts included a comb of op-shops for light fixtures and bits to finish the house.

12 Carlisle Rd, Browns Bay, Auckland. Photo / Ted Baghurst
12 Carlisle Rd, Browns Bay, Auckland. Photo / Ted Baghurst

Sitting near the top of the hill above Browns Bay, the cedar house is surrounded by native bush — puriri trees, giant punga and nikau palms — and completely private from the road (driveway access is shared with neighbours).

Gaps in the bush allow the sun to pour into the house and decks all year around, and the view of the water and Rangitoto is unimpeded.

From some windows, you can even see the tops of Sky Tower and Takapuna's Sentinel apartments. The beach, used daily for dog walks, is only 600m away and the bus to the kids' high schools (both Long Bay and Rangitoto colleges) are at the bottom of the street.

The three storeys suit a family of teens: kids on the ground floor, parents on the top floor, living and a fourth bedroom in the middle. Two of the six children are no longer at home.

The entry level has two bedrooms, each opening through french doors to decks. A generous laundry and a wine cellar holds boots, back packs and sports gear — and the odd bottle of wine.

Black tile flooring and crisp white paint allow the blue steel spiral staircase, a Burrows signature, to pop.

David reckons 40-odd hours went into sanding and re-lacquering the steels, before new laminated wood treads were added.

A wood burner on this level (aided by new insulation and the odd heater upstairs) heats the whole house.

12 Carlisle Rd, Browns Bay, Auckland. Photo / Ted Baghurst
12 Carlisle Rd, Browns Bay, Auckland. Photo / Ted Baghurst

David relished the challenge of re-working the ground floor bathroom to fit both a shower and tub, as well as a separate loo and a dressing area — handy for the morning rush.

Claudine found textured triangular tiles to complement the wedge-shape of the shower, as well as a freestanding tub that nestles up to the window looking into the bush.

For the master en suite on the top floor, David and Claudine retained the original curved shower stall and vanity, updating fixtures and adding — of course — hexagonal tiles to the walls.

When the family bought the house, the kitchen had already been renovated with dark carbon benches, white joinery and mosaic splashback. David and Claudine added a few more cupboards and updated appliances to stainless steel.

Walls were updated with white paint, but the original rimu floors in the master floor were still immaculate. The circular and half-circular windows throughout the house are steel and, like the wooden french doors, just needed scraping and painting.

David and Claudine's favourite nod to the era are the floors and the charcoal shag carpet that lines the sunken conversation pit on one half of the living room (the other half is a television spot for parents when the kids take over the pit).

12 Carlisle Rd, Browns Bay, Auckland. Photo / Ted Baghurst
12 Carlisle Rd, Browns Bay, Auckland. Photo / Ted Baghurst

Both it and the dining rooms have angled glass ceilings, each opening to a deck (one for morning coffees overlooking the sea, the other to the dining and barbecue deck for long summer evenings).

When they couldn't find suitable vintage light fixtures, the couple bought four perspex Kartell designer shades to repeat the 1980s colours.

On the lower grounds, below the decks, a hot tub and paths through the bush continue the spa-retreat atmosphere.

The master floor includes a cosy hexagonal bedroom with sea views, a generous lobby for desk and exercise area, and a walk-in closet.

This floor was originally designed as the front entrance, with decks, a walkway and stairs leading up to the road and parking pad. David has drawn up plans and had pre-lodgement meetings with council to reinstate this entrance, adding a turnaround park for two cars, so that the lower part of the grounds can be subdivided into a 600m section.

The curve-roofed garage, lined and set up as David's ultimate garage (there's an under-house man cave, too) would become the entrance to the new section.

But the mid-century addicts have found themselves another 1970s place that is crying out for their love, so are selling this Burrows gem to move on to the next project. More 'active relaxing' on their horizon, along with, they hope, a bit more collecting.

• 4 bedrooms, 2 bathroom, 2* parking spaces.
• House 145sq m Land 1096sq m.
• Price: CV $1.395 million.
• Auction: Sept 20, 1 pm (unless sold prior).
• Inspect: Sat/Sun 2-4pm.
• Schools: Browns Bay primary, Long Bay College.
• Contact: Steve Lawrence, 021 563 476 or Caroline Lawrence 021 039 5329, Barfoot & Thompson,