Location
Client
Dean and Sarah
Time
Apr 2013
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A well-executed renovation helped to make this new house a home.

WORDS Stephanie Matheson PHOTOGRAPHY Caroline Ducobu and Stephanie Matheson

When a young family decided to move, they found a perfect section with an almost perfect house on it. A well executed renovation helped to make it home.

Sarah and Dean found an ideal place: a double-storeyed 1960s house on 842 square meters of land. “We wanted somewhere with a bit of space so Josh can play outside,” says Dean. “We went for the area and the section and the house size.”

Sarah adds: “We only looked at four or five houses and kept on looking at this one. The section really appealed. Even though the house décor was pretty awful, we decided to go with it, because that can be changed.”

Finding a project manager

In February 2011, the family moved in. “As soon as we put our boxes down in the house, we knew it was the right decision,” says Sarah. But before they could fully settle in, there was a lot of work to be done. The whole house needed to be freshened up and the main bathroom required a major overhaul.

Finding a project manager for the renovation was the first step, as the couple didn’t have the time to deal with several different tradesmen.

“We searched the internet and found Refresh,” says Sarah. “I’m very glad we did. It would have been very hard to organise it all ourselves. There were so many different people involved. If you have a project manager, they make sure everything gets done. It makes life so much easier.”

The renovation

Luckily, the layout of the house works for children, so for the most part Sarah and Dean only needed to update the look and feel of the rooms.

“The whole house was wallpapered,” remembers Dean. “We stripped it all down and had it painted in Dulux Kauri Cliffs. The house also had these ugly bricks inside, the same ones that are used on the outside of the house. They were in the entrance, the hallway and all around the fireplace. We got all that redone.”

Another eye-sore was the carpet. “We didn’t think it was too bad when we first had a look at it, but when we moved in we saw how run down it really was,” says Sarah. “We decided to replace it throughout the whole house and do everything in one go. And it’s actually the carpet that’s made the biggest difference. It brings it all together.”

The house has two levels, with the kitchen, Josh’s room, the new nursery, a guest room and a guest bathroom downstairs. Aside from plastering the walls and replacing the carpet, not much needed to be changed on the lower level. In fact, the guest bathroom and kitchen had been modernised before Sarah and Dean bought the house.

A modern toilet with black tiles

Nearly all of the hard yards were done upstairs. Here, the floor plan was altered to replace an old disjointed bathroom with a new guest toilet and an ensuite and walk-in wardrobe for the master bedroom. This was the main focus of the renovation and a large part of the overall cost went into it.

“As soon as they had taken down the walls of the existing bathroom, I was really happy,” says Sarah. “You could see the massive space that was now available, where the toilet and the wardrobe and the bathroom would go. Then they put up the new structure and the insulation – that was probably the highlight for me.”

The new ensuite bathroom features a stylish double vanity and a large shower. Dark grey tones and clean lines are the key ingredients of the contemporary look that Sarah and Dean wanted to achieve here. It’s now a very organised and private space.

Along with the bathroom rebuild came a new wall that closed in part of the upstairs landing. The old railing was replaced with a new glass balustrade, giving the whole hallway a modern and clean feel. It’s also safer for children as there are no gaps in the barrier. Two large black light shades hang from the ceiling and complete the modern, minimalist style of the renovation.

a kid bedroom with brand new carpet and decorations

Also located on the upper level of the house, the living room came with a Rinnai fireplace and needed just a small amount of work. Dean says: “We reduced the size of the fireplace’s hearth and installed new light fittings in the living room. It’s not much, but it made a difference.”

Last but not least, Sarah and Dean replaced the two shutter doors of their double garage with one large garage door. This makes it a lot easier to take Josh in and out of the car.

Living in

Throughout the renovation, the family lived in the house. Sarah admits that it was difficult at times. “There were three weeks that were particularly hard, when they were doing the painting and the plastering. Plastic sheeting was everywhere and we had the whole house in the kitchen. It was cold as well, as the builders needed to air the house. We moved out one night when they put on the pigment setter because of the fumes,” says Sarah.

“At least we had the complete downstairs area to ourselves most of the time. And the builders were really, really good. They always made sure they cleaned everything up at the end of the day. They even helped me bring in the shopping.”

a stairs with new carpet

The renovation went smoothly, but it took longer than expected because the builders discovered leaks in the roof which held everything up.

“Renovating takes over your life for a while,” says Dean. “But Refresh were good to deal with. If there was an issue, we told them and they fixed it. They took ownership.”

Sarah concludes: “It’s nice that it’s all finished well before the arrival of our new baby. I have two months to go, and now I can perhaps take the odd daytime nap. Now that we spent all this money and made everything nice, it really feels like home."

You might be interested in reading our Refresh case study Creating flow on a budget

 

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This case study by Stephanie Matheson featured in the Summer 2012 of Renovate Magazine. Renovate Magazine is an easy to use resource providing fresh inspiration and motivation at every turn of the page. 

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