Jim Courtney believes the handsome double-brick villa he shared with his late partner Donald Stenhouse was the original homestead in this part of the bay in the early 1900s, and that the first owner subdivided the land around it.

"What's also interesting is that it has an Australian, Paddington-style semi-detached terrace house sense about it, and I've always felt sure that the other side must have been on the original plans, but for some reason it wasn't built that way," says Jim.

With its character porch and balcony, complete with ornate fretwork, the house has become somewhat of a local icon and people frequently stop to admire it.

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"Donald bought it in 1983 and he maintained it impeccably," says Jim, who moved in around 14 years ago. "It hadn't had many owners and although he wanted to extend it, he felt very strongly about maintaining its character."

As a result, the pavilion-style extension of 1991 was architect-designed and fits in perfectly with the original house, adding a sunny kitchen with garden views, an informal living and dining space and access via french doors to the covered deck outside.

Jim says this spot is such a suntrap, he and Donald used it in spring, summer, autumn and even winter, while just around the corner is a patio, which is also perfect for quiet relaxation.

Donald's major renovation also included a new bathroom on the ground floor, reached via a bedroom. On this level too is the huge formal lounge with fireplace, sash windows, period light fittings and loads of natural light.

There's also a painting in the lounge of the house, done by a former neighbour, Howard Hume. Jim says it will come with the property as the depiction celebrates its heritage so beautifully.

Up the kauri staircase are two further bedrooms. Donald, a retired anaesthetist with a passion for the arts, particularly liked the front one of the two, as it had great acoustics.

It was here that he'd play his favourite opera records. There's also a neat little bathroom.

The colours throughout are bright and flamboyant and create a vibrant, welcoming vibe.
Another of the property's notable features is the size of the section, which at 526sq m is large by Herne Bay standards.

What's more, there's a single carport at the end of a long driveway, a rarity in this part of the city.

Jim jokes that the house is handy for people of his age because a doctor is just over the road and a pharmacy around the corner on Jervois Road.

But in reality the property is ideal for anyone who enjoys city fringe living with all the amenities it brings.

The Elbow Room is Jim's favourite local bar and he's enjoyed the many cafes and restaurants over the years, just moments from his front door.

Jim's moved into a new phase of his life in Birkenhead, and he's keen to see the 7 Albany Road pass to owners who are going to cherish this special property just as much as he and Donald did.

7 ALBANY RD

• 3 bedrooms, 2 bathroom, 1* parking spaces.

• Land 526sq m; house 158sq m.

• Auction: Nov 22.

• Inspect: Sat/Sun, 12pm-12.30pm.

• Schools: Bayfield School, Ponsonby Intermediate, Western Springs College.

• Contact: Steve Williams, Ray White, 027 295 6153; Caroline Yau, 021 618 211.

*Plus 3 OSP