A bathroom renovation in Ashhurst, Manawatu: A 1900s makeover complemented by modern touches

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Villa with porch

As a return Refresh client, this Ashhurst homeowner knew what to expect and was eager to work with the team again to transform the bathroom in his 1900s villa into an authentic period masterpiece.

Before After
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Getting reacquainted 

Having worked with Refresh on a previous exterior renovation, returning client Jason sought out Manawatu Renovation Consultant Richard Marshall for another project. This time, he wanted to renovate the bathroom in his 1900 Ashhurst character villa. 

Richard estimated the bathroom hadn’t been renovated since the 1950s when he predicted the ceiling height had been lowered. Jason not only wanted to raise the ceiling to its original height to make the space feel bigger, but he also wanted to restore the style of the bathroom so it was more authentic to the villa’s early 1900s era of inception.  

Establishing goals

Richard’s in-house project manager Michael Zhang worked with Jason before, so they already had a good rapport and established understanding of both the Refresh process and how the other operates. The team got right to work discussing Jason’s goals for the project. He had a specific aesthetic he wanted to achieve and it was essential that Richard and Michael understood that so they could arrange an excellent design. 

Led by design, Jason explained he wanted the bathroom renovation to reflect the character and period of his villa. The 3D design renderings were invaluable in helping Jason make key decisions. After reviewing the plan and refining the details with Jason, Richard provided an estimate of just under $50,000–a price point at which Jason was comfortable.

Adjusting on the fly

Though Jason hadn’t defined specific budget or deadline limitations, Michael still wanted to deliver the project on time, adhering to Richard’s quote. He put together a meticulous building plan so Jason was fully aware of the timing of his project. And with that, construction commenced.

Thanks to the thorough planning in the early stages, the active building stage ran smoothly with few exceptions. Since he was aware of the Refresh process, Jason knew making variations would incur additional costs and possibly cause delays, but he also knew the team would do their best to accommodate the changes as he’s ultimately in control of his renovation.  

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A unique design

Jason’s unconventional request, to paint the timber flooring to match the rest of the house, caused a slight delay because the timber had already been oiled. For the best results, the team needed time to allow the oiled floor to dry before painting. He also wanted the colonial architraves framing the windows to be consistent, so Richard had to source new architraves to match the existing ones. Lastly, the heat pump piping was too low once the ceiling had been raised, so the team had to rectify the situation.  

Despite the slight delays, Richard and Michael delivered this fantastic bathroom renovation within seven weeks. The variation in plans cost an additional $1,600 bringing the total for Jason’s beautiful new bathroom to about $51,600. 

Final Thoughts

Raising the ceiling in this space has had the most significant impact on the design. The extra headspace allowed enough room for an ornate, antique-style chandelier that is the focal point of the bathroom, although there are many eye-catching statement pieces throughout. 

Character details–the vintage-inspired fixtures, Bateau bathtub, and timber double vanity–are complemented by modern elements such as the slim-profile toilet, frameless glass shower, and backlit mirrors for a perfect balance of old and new.

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This project was completed in
July 2023
Project description
Bathroom renovation
New Zealand
Project duration
7 weeks
Cost estimate
Actual cost
Interesting aspects
Unique character pieces
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Wayne Gordon is a Director, Operations Manager & Renovation Consultant of Radian Group Ltd, a franchisee of Renovation Franchise Ltd, doing business in Manawatu.

Michael Zhang is Project Manager of Radian Group Ltd, a franchisee of Renovation Franchise Ltd, doing business in Manawatu.

Actual costs vary by project. Plan ahead to reduce the impact of industry changes or disruptions. For more information see here.

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