Off-court banter between two social netball players led to Karina Lupton and her husband Graham scoring the perfect home for their three young children.

Karina and the previous owner were playing in the local housewives' netball team 20 years ago when they discovered they had more in common than ball skills.

They were talking about how they hadn't been able to sell their homes, when they realised they each had just the house the other needed.

Karina remembers a visit here with her husband and three young children particularly well.


Dean, their middle child, aged four, disappeared from sight, something she wasn't used to on their much smaller property.

"He came rushing in, tugging my sweatshirt and said 'Mum, I ran all the way round the house!'

"It was one of those moments that you just wanted to take a photo off. That sold me. I thought 'This is our house'."

And so began the house swap with a cash difference that has suited the Lupton family down to the ground.

Graham had found his nirvana in the protected views of the surrounding Waitakere foothills that became their adventure playground.

"It was the vastness of it," he says of the house and property where the children learned to drive.

Designed by Lane Priest Architects, the house was built in 1989 with an exterior cladding of 20mm-thick solid plaster.

Inside, it unfolds like a tent beneath a central 6m-high apex in which every square metre of space has earned its keep.

Above the bedroom wing, a mezzanine bedroom/rumpus room looks out through a void across the hallway.

Directly opposite, a similar void lets light into a large room and takes up roof space above the bathroom and separate laundry off the double garage, with stairs at the end of the garage.

Within the large open-plan kitchen, the central apex accommodates perimeter storage including pantries for dry goods and crockery. Laminate benches, a breakfast bar and terracotta tiled floors define this hub with the family room on one side and the dining area and second lounge on the other.

French doors off the living areas and end bedroom open to lawns and lush gardens. Elsewhere, deep, opening windows offer more than just a view.

Karina recalls the day they talked about an escape plan in case of fire. One of the children said, "We'd just open a window and walk out."

This home has been the most recent venue for the annual Lupton family picnic, held every February for the past 60 years.

Says Graham, an insurance assessor, whose grandmother started the picnic ritual. "We've just outgrown the house."

• 5 bedrooms, 3 bathroom, 2 parking spaces.
• Land 3295sq m, house 320sq m.
• Auction: Nov 14.
• Inspect: Sat 1-1.45pm, Sun 2-2.45pm.
• Schools: Henderson Valley School, Henderson High School.
• Contact: Jayne McCall, 021 606 969; and Chris Head, 022 500 6293, Bayleys,