Designed by architect Frans Kamermans, the home at 54 Orakei Rd has "such a beautiful floorplan and wonderful proportions" that owners Peter and Shirley Shapiro have never needed to modify it since they moved in 20 years ago with their young family.

"It just worked," says Peter. "It was a quality family home in a great double Grammar zone location that would stand the test of time with the girls growing up. All effort has been in maintaining rather than changing or replacing anything."

And it has absorbed the inevitable changes a family endures with ease.

One of the things we loved, says Shirley, is the way it was designed around a wide access and corridor that goes on a direct axis all the way from the front gate to the garden.

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"It creates a sense of light and spaciousness with large rooms coming off it."

Peter adds, "It's a real oasis with a feeling of relaxation when you arrive home and leave the world behind."

As you walk inside, you look straight down the corridor into lush leafy green. Sliding doors open on the entire western side of the house, from large family and formal rooms on the ground floor and bedrooms above, straight out to the garden and leafy views over Waiata Reserve beyond.

"The house is all about the strong connection to the outdoors for families," says Peter.

While the house plan hasn't been altered, the garden had a radical makeover by Natural Habitats five years ago which was so successful, it won an industry award for design and construction. The aim was to blur the lines of where the garden begins and ends so it takes the beautiful trees in the distant landscape into the design.

"It was a courtyard design, but we opened it up to get the view to the city."

Four distinct zones include a formal remnant garden that celebrates a gnarled old tree at the front, a woodland garden, a tropical area and a secret garden, with well-constructed steps down to a gas fire pit surrounded by curved concrete steps and a peep hole cut into ficus hedging to view the Sky Tower.

"It's beautiful in summer and warm in winter," assures Shirley. "Natural Habitats continue to maintain the garden, which has a lovely feel and we spend so much time in it.

"Although it looks down across the Waiata Reserve, the hedges are trimmed to exactly the right level so they cut out anything in the foreground but the trees and the city. We can sit on the patio and watch the fireworks at Christmas in the Park. You can always find sun or shade depending on what you need."

A third extra-generous living area off the landing upstairs has evolved as the girls have grown. It started out as a rumpus room, then became their dance practice room, later a table tennis space then a rugby party venue at times.

A wide corridor between bedrooms on the upper level is also filled with light. It has the same axis from front to back starting at a huge arched window and ending at double doors into the master suite which extends to a sunny balcony providing a heavenly view.

There is a pathway into the reserve for walking Matilda the Cocker Spaniel leash-free and a bus-stop to school for the girls just up the road.

The property has been the perfect place for a family with many happy memories.
Peter and Shirley are only leaving because the girls have left home.

54 ORAKEI RD, REMUERA
• 4 bedrooms, 3 bathroom, 2* parking spaces.
• house 396sq m, land 758sq m.
• Auction: March 4.
• Inspect: Sat/Sun 2-2.30pm.
• Schools: Double grammar zone, Remuera Primary & Intermediate.
• Contact: Lindi Chemaly, Ray White, 021 546 342.
*OSP 2