ABOUT four years ago Shelley and Steven Ferguson began thinking about buying a home together - and ended up nabbing the first one they saw.
"We thought, 'let's just go and see what's out there'," recalls Shelley.
"We decided to start with all our dream suburbs, never thinking we'd be able to afford anything."
So they took a Sunday drive through Northcote Point on Auckland's North Shore.
"This was the first house we saw, in the first suburb we went to."
Walking into the white art deco home, they were immediately entranced with its light and sunny feel, and instantly felt at home.
They also loved the character of the art deco features combined with the clean lines of some of the fittings.
"I could see it would be easy to mix my love of character with my love of modernity," says Shelley.
"The house was so different to the others in the area, which are mostly villas or bungalows, and we really wanted it. We decided to go for it and placed an offer. We were as surprised as anything when it was accepted."
Being close to the sea and Lake Pupuke was important for Steven, a professional athlete who has represented New Zealand at the Olympics in kayaking and swimming, and who was a part of the winning team at the World Surf Lifesaving Championships last year.
For "city girl" Shelley, the editor of Cleo magazine, the move to the North Shore was a big change, but it's one she adapted to easily.
When the couple took possession of the house, the first thing they did was to extend the kitchen bench and create more storage space.
"We both love to cook - when we have time - and I quite like getting in and doing things around the house, so it was a good feeling to get that done," says Steven.
"Shelley tells me what needs doing and I get on with it. She's pretty good at coming up with things for me to do," he laughs.
Though they haven't had to change too much structurally, they have worked hard to put their own stamp on the home they now share with son Flynn, aged 1.
The existing fresh, all-white paint job throughout the house provides a neutral backdrop ideal for displaying their treasures.
"Family is very important to us and we have a lot of things here that have been passed on to us," says Shelley.
"Our house is filled with a mix of things we've been given, and bits and pieces we've picked up while overseas. Basically everything has meaning and has a reason for being here. We don't just buy things for the sake of buying them."
- Frame game: Shelley likes to buy inexpensive picture frames and paint them white to make them look more upmarket.
- Easy feature: A wall of elegant wallpaper is an easy and low-cost way of adding colour and texture to a room. The green and white wallpaper in the main bedroom provides a counterpoint to the neutral colour palette of the other walls.
- Baby steps: To decorate Flynn's room, Shelley made bunting and found prints for the walls online.
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