Bidding just two thousand dollars higher than their closest contender unexpectedly secured Peter and Fiona Kirch this spectacular waterfront Remuera property when they decided to "go and have a look" at the auction 24 years ago.
"The price seemed quite reasonable so we decided to bid. We were in semi-shock we actually bought it," says Peter.
After living overseas for seven years, first in London and then in Melbourne, the couple returned to New Zealand in 1991 with their three young children, James, Alex and Natalie who were 5, 3, and 6 months old at the time.
The 2494sq m property at the no-exit, lower end of Victoria Ave was one of the first they looked at and Peter says they were taken by the size of the land and its position.
It fronts straight on to Wilson's Beach, which is part of the Hobson Walkway, and has spectacular harbour views of Hobson Bay, Rangitoto Island, North Head and the picturesque Ngapipi Rd boat sheds.
Nestled down a quiet right-of-way, the multi-million dollar, north-facing property is protected from southwesterly winds, fringed by majestic mature trees including one of the biggest oaks in the Southern Hemisphere, and borders St Kentigern School.
"You feel as though you are living in a park," says Fiona of the property whose beautifully landscaped gardens have evolved over the years and include a series of rooms including a walled garden and large fountain on the eastern side of the house.
The Kirchs initially looked at redesigning the existing two-storey, 1940s bungalow on the property before realising that, for not much more money, they could have a totally new, purpose-built family home.
They commissioned architect Gerald Carter from Replica Homes, who specialised in designing authentic older-style new homes, to create a house that would feel timeless and traditional but have state-of-the-art amenities and modern indoor-outdoor flow.
"We were looking to build a home that could stand the test of time as the kids grew up, and from our perspective this has been a great family home," says Peter.
The children's first schools, Victoria Avenue School and St Kentigern College, were just minutes away and having a virtually private beach a few metres from their home was a huge bonus.
The beach, which was resanded a few years ago, is a safe, sheltered spot that is perfect for kayaking and windsurfing.
The Kirchs' highly spec-ed three-level brick, tile and treated timber home, which flows effortlessly to a wide, north-facing terrace and covered year-round barbecue area, was completed in 1993.
A gas-heated swimming pool, spa and additional al fresco area were completed a few years later, followed by an extra double garage with loft.
The home's main living is on its entry level. It includes a formal lounge, separate dining room, library, cloakroom, Morgan Cronin-designed kitchen, butler's kitchen and a relaxed family room with informal dining.
This level also includes a double bedroom with en suite, ideal for an elderly parent or live-in nanny.
Graciously curving stairs lead from the entrance foyer up to four large bedrooms and a bathroom on the top level. The bedrooms include the expansive master bedroom, which has its own north-facing deck, a modern en suite and generous walk-in wardrobes. All of the bedrooms, like the rest of the house, have excellent loft storage.
The lower level includes a gym, temperature-controlled wine cellar, large rumpus room that opens to the garden, two-car garaging, a large storage space and another bathroom.
In addition to the garaging here and below the loft, there is forecourt space for several more cars.
Now that their adult children are leading their own lives, the Kirchs want to downsize to an apartment in Auckland and spend more time at Park Point on Waiheke Island where they own a house and three hectares of land.