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Property Here - Saturday, June 01, 2013

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These days, chicks don't fly the nest and stay away forever - they keep returning to their parents' nest, sometimes with partners and children in tow. Luckily, Christine and Paul McLaren found the perfect home, even though 12 years ago, most of their blended family had theoretically moved on.

"It's been a wonderful family home," enthuses Christine. "It's practically self-contained down below for the constant flow of kids and grandkids."

She and Paul were attracted to the previous owners' meticulous renovation that included a fully excavated ground floor that doubled the size of the house.

"It looked like a modest 1950s bungalow from the street," recalls Paul, "but we walked in the door and were wowed." What blew them away were the magnificent harbour views from almost every room, and the glamorous Italian kitchen and bathrooms. "Most rooms open to views and sunshine," says Paul, "even downstairs."

A generous tiled deck extends from the bedrooms, kitchen and living areas on the sunny northern side.

"The depth of the eaves is just right for summer shade and winter sun," explains Paul, while Christine notes that the sheltered deck is a perfect spot for reading and watching the harbour.

With an interior they already loved, the couple concentrated on the garden. "I'm glad we sat for a year and watched the sun," says Christine, "so we found the perfect spot for the pool."

A west-facing patio, level with the upper floor, was extended and terraced for a sheltered pool area that soaks up all-day sun. "It's enough separation that we can't hear noisy teenagers but can lock it off from small children."

The pool's classical curved wall echoes the new walled garden in the front, with its topiary trees and clipped hedges. It flows to the sunny flat lawn, anchored by a Balinese-style gazebo and surrounded by trees. The lawns have hosted 80 people for a post-wedding party, with adults, kids and caterers spreading into their own areas.

The refined living spaces and that Italian kitchen were great for entertaining, too.

In the living and dining area, traditional coved ceilings, dramatic dark walls and silky curtains provide a glamorous setting for friends to gather round Paul's grand piano or stroll on to the deck to admire the view.

Christine will miss the wide open kitchen, with cabinets as sleek as an Italian car and cleverly designed storage. The central island bar and circular table were always popular with visitors and the cook. "I liked having the elements facing the deck," says Christine, "so I could see the action while I'm cooking."

The master bedroom and another bedroom, sometimes used as an office, also open to the deck, showingcasing the view and birdsong. Both the en suite and family bathrooms illustrate the high-spec design that attracted Paul and Christine, along with the abundance of storage in the master walk-in closet and office wardrobe.

Graceful stairs lead down to two more sunny, spacious bedrooms and another well-designed bathroom.

Most evenings, Paul and Christine are drawn downstairs to the media room, where they have added custom shelves to create a library and display for Paul's collection of vintage radios.

Music is a big part of their lives, but they've also loved being 10 minutes from the beach and village, with parks along the way to entertain the grandchildren. They won't move far, but this time they know to make space in their new nest for visiting family and friends.