When Karl and Merrin Rosnell were house-hunting eight years ago they looked at dozens of homes, but nothing measured up to the charming villa they were renting at the time.
"We'd been there for a year and we really liked it, so one day I rang the landlord and asked if he was interested in selling," says Karl. "Luckily he said yes."
One of the things the couple appreciated about the picturesque 1912 villa was that it had been thoughtfully renovated by previous owners. It has a modern kitchen and bathrooms, but has retained period features like the sash windows, leadlight windows and rimu floors.
"To get something similar we would have had to do a renovation, which we didn't want to do as we had a small baby," says Karl. "We loved what had been done to the house."
But having lived there for all four seasons, they were also well aware of a couple of issues it had, which they set about fixing.
"It was cold in winter," recalls Merrin. "You could feel the air coming up through the floorboards. So we fully insulated, put in two heat pumps and carpeted the bedrooms. It has made a huge difference — it's a lovely warm house now."
The other major task to tackle was sorting out the back garden. It was on two levels, with no grass but lots of rock walls and completely overgrown with bamboo.
"It was like a bamboo jungle," says Merrin. "I'm sure there were pandas hiding in there."
Most of the bamboo was pulled out, leaving just a line of trees at the rear of the property that creates a wall of greenery and provides privacy. Seven truckloads of dirt were brought into level out the garden, so a flat lawn could be laid.
"That was one of the best things we could have done," says Karl. "It's great for the kids to be able to run around and throw a rugby ball about."
The garden also features tropical landscaping, a storage shed and a west facing patio where the family tend to live during summer. Bifold doors from the dining room are left open for about 80 of the year, says Karl, and having such great indoor/outdoor flow has been great, especially when children Cooper, 8, and Isla, 5, were small.
They have also appreciated the generous size of the rooms.
The children both have big bedrooms — Cooper's has a bay window and a door through to the family bathroom, while Isla's features a gas fire set into an original brick fireplace.
The master bedroom comes with an en suite.
The family bathroom is also a good size, with a huge storage cupboard and an enclosed shower.
"It's very quirky, but the door has such a good seal you get in there and you can block out the world — it's bliss!" says Merrin.
The open plan living, dining and kitchen is also very spacious and full of light. As well as being an ideal family area, it has also proved to be excellent for entertaining.
Merrin will miss the kitchen, which has lots of storage and bench space, along with a gas over and bifold windows that open out to the patio.
She and Karl will also miss the neighbourhood, which is full of young families.
23A PINE STREET, MT EDEN
• 3 bedrooms, 2 bathroom, 1 parking spaces.
• Land 613sq m, house 130sq m (approx.)
• Auction: Wednesday May 22, 12pm, on site
• Inspect: Sat/Sun1-1.30pm, Wednesday 6-6.30pm
• Schools: Balmoral Primary and Intermediate, Mt Albert Grammar School
• Contact: Hayley Kirk-Smith or Roberta Stewart, Unlimited Potential, ph 021 929 569 (Hayley) or 022 100 3113 (Roberta)