A young couple's first home together is always very special, and none more so than the charming New Lynn bungalow which mortgage broker Shane Mishra shares with his partner, Laura Thavat, an animal manager. She's away on location in Budapest right now, working with the horses that are starring in a New Zealand television series, currently being filmed there.
On a quiet, tree-lined cul-de-sac, just minutes from New Lynn's increasingly vibrant social scene and ever-growing public transport hub, the house is so private you'd be forgiven for forgetting you have neighbours.
Built in the 1930s, this West Auckland home's traditional attributes have been very gently brought up to date. Beamed ceilings and polished wooden floors are still intact and integrated perfectly with clever modern touches.
"The previous owners were landscape gardeners and they left the outside looking really lovely, so we've only had to nurture that side of things," says Shane.
The large, airy lounge with cosy open fireplace and original bay window framed by heavy, stylish drapes, has a secret veranda-cum-patio just outside, reacheded via french doors. This sunny, sheltered spot is much loved by the cat and is a handy extension to the lounge when Shane and Laura entertain.
The master bedroom, too, is light and bright with its own compact, white, tongue-and-groove bathroom, and a sunroom.
"Laura likes to put her make-up on here, because the light is perfect but it would also be ideal as a nursery for a new-born baby, nice and close to its parents," Shane says.
One of the two spare bedrooms boasts spectacular black floorboards and decent wardrobe space, cleverly concealed behind floaty curtains. It also has big, high shelves.
"Everything in this house has been very well thought out in terms of storage space."
The third bedroom is another relaxing, north-facing, sunny space and the main bathroom sits right in the centre of the house. Although modern, it still has its original 1930s basin, which is a sweet and quirky touch.
The kitchen is very much the heart of this home. It has all mod-cons and meanders in a rather unexpected way, with a wood burner at one end to keep it warm. Much of the kitchen joinery is original, but has been brought right up to date with a smart paint job.
"It's not your traditional 'triangle' in terms of where things are but it has worked very well for us and having the table situated centrally, it's ideal for guests to sit and enjoy a drink while Laura and I are cooking. There's plenty of space for us to move around it. It's one of those kitchens that everybody seems to gravitate towards."
The pair are moving because Shane's business is on the North Shore and it makes sense to find something closer and a place where Laura can keep her much-loved horses. "If we'd stayed here we could have done a lot more to this house."
Attic stairs from the kitchen into the ceiling cavity reveal potential for a second storey, and there's a covered area just outside the back door which could be the site for a fourth bedroom.
With off-street parking for two vehicles, this house will definitely appeal to young owners.
"But having said that, it could be good for older people, too," Shane says, "because it's surprisingly low maintenance and it's been very carefully looked after right throughout its life."