Christian and Rachael Hurzeler call their penthouse apartment the "villa in the sky". It has views over St Matthew-in-the-City, Albert and Myers parks, Aotea Square and the fairy lights of Federal St.

Buying it was a leap of faith on Christian's part. It was 2013 and he was in London on the final leg of his OE. He had met Rachael on a trip back in New Zealand, before returning to the UK and continuing their relationship long-distance.

Back on the ground in Auckland, Rachel kept an eye on available apartments and contacted Christian, sending photos of the penthouse in the Hampton Court building.

"It reminded me of the vibe I had become accustomed to in cities during my 10 years of travelling overseas," says Christian.

"It has character and heritage, and is light bright and airy. It feels like a sanctuary, a villa in the sky.

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"It is architecturally stunning and in summer you have the pohutukawa in flower and that brings in the tūi."

The transaction went through on the eve of Christian returning to New Zealand.

He and Rachael settled into their Auckland lifestyle, in summer enjoying quiet times and sunsets on the internal west-facing deck and, in winter, watching the storms rolling in.

"You can open up the deck to the living and dining and get the summer breeze coming in," says Christian.

Restaurants and entertainment were just a stroll away. They had the markets of Aotea Square, sometimes even ice skating.

They could walk or bike to the fish market, or make their way to the waterfront to catch the ferry to Waiheke.

The main part of the Hampton Court building was constructed in the 1930s, designed by architect Surrey S. Alleman and built, says Rachael, in neo-Georgian style. "But in layman's terms it feels Art Deco".

The newer, upper part of the building, where their apartment is, was added in the 1950s. "It feels like someone plonked a villa on top of an Art Deco building," she says.

"It really does look like a homey Ponsonby villa. It has the charm of a villa with the hustle-bustle of the city and without the exterior maintenance and the lawns."

Christian and Rachael love the villa-style details — the sash windows, high studs, the sliding wooden doors to the deck, chandeliers and pendant lighting, architraves, dado and picture rails.

And the north-west facing apartment's layout, with the building's central atrium, means every room has a window and view. The two bedrooms at the back are quiet and away from the street.

A new family member has seen them deciding to sell so they can move closer to other family.

9B/182 FEDERAL ST, HAMPTON COURT, AUCKLAND CBD
• 2 bedrooms, 2 bathroom, 0 parking spaces.
• 126sq m.
• Auction: 6 March (unless sold prior).
• Outgoings: $14,964.53 (approx) a year.
• Inspect: Phone for viewing times.
• Contact: Julie Quinton, Bayleys, 021 894 071; Paula Halford, 021 705 199.