To utilise an attic cavity, this clever Clevedon renovation maximised the available space by creating a second storey.
WORDS Jason Burgess PHOTOGRAPHY Caroline Ducobu
With serene rural views from every window and only birdcall to disturb the tranquillity, it is easy to see what first attracted Catherine Simpson to her 1980s home. Initially Catherine had downsized but with frequent visitors she recently decided it was time to tackle some niggling renovation jobs like replacing a leaky window, updating her kitchen and creating extra rooms and more storage.
Having experienced her parents doing up a house from scratch, Catherine says she did not want to relive that. “I engaged Refresh Renovations because I work full time. I wanted only to be making decisions and paying bills, not trying to coordinate everything and being responsible for tradespeople. It has worked out perfectly.”
As a first step, a new 25-square-metre art studio was built at the side of an existing carport. Starting here meant that Refresh had a place to store tools and materials, especially since builder Ben Hatchett – anticipating a price spike in building materials – made an upfront bulk order of supplies. This not only cushioned the budget, it meant more time was spent on the job.
To install new piles for the studio, the Refresh team had to find a digger with an extended boom that was small enough to negotiate the driveway without destroying the surface. Each pile had to be sunk five metres into the ground across a six-metre wide span, on a damp and precipitous bank.
Following the completion of the studio, which includes a floor to ceiling storage wall that now houses everything from sewing machines and fabrics to suitcases and fold-up beds, the team moved on to the main house. Originally, an imposing 10-metre wide sweep of roof pitched steeply from above the entrance level of the house to a six-metre high apex. Catherine saw space for a new room in the attic cavity. Together with Refresh and architect Robin Hannah she decided that by lifting the roof they could add a storey and optimise the space.
Extra bracing of the bearer lines underneath the floor of the house was necessary to comply with the new earthquake code and also to take the load of the new upper floor. Good access and meticulous planning made that straightforward, which was a theme that continued throughout the job. According to Ben, Catherine knew what she wanted from the get-go: “We built straight from plan, no changes. The council loved it. No delays, redrawing or amendments, meaning no down time.”
The elements presented the biggest challenge with downpours a constant concern. So when it came to framing up for the new upper storey, Ben and fellow builder Rodney Cate left the existing rafters in place so that their four tarps could be tied off tightly, avoiding sagging and pooling of water. Ben says: “We worked fast because we knew it was cold for Catherine. Heavy rain meant we lost some time but the job was kept 100 per cent watertight.” The roof was off for just a week.
The extreme height of the gable meant extensive scaffolding was necessary. Refresh sourced this from Hirepool. While up there the team stained all the weatherboards and painted the fascia and soffit as they built. This meant the painters did not have to get another scaffold up to that height, saving costs down the track.
The new upstairs master bedroom and en-suite now square up the front of the house. Boston Wardrobes designed and installed a four-metre long wardrobe with sliding doors at the ‘sleeping end’ of the room and fitted a full height bookcase with cupboard space into an alcove at the other end.
In keeping with the rest of the home, Catherine has opted for an unfussy practical fit-out of the en-suite. An Athena Charisma 900 round acrylic shower is offset by a one-metre long Athena sink and vanity. On an adjacent wall a second storage vanity takes care of “all the hair stuff”. Tapware includes a Greens Oxi basin mixer and pull out showerhead. A Jika Lava Back toilet suite and Genesis heated towel warmer complete the room.
A simple move of a breakfast bar in the kitchen has gained Catherine much desired bench space and proper placement for her trusty fridge and freezer, while making room for a new Fisher and Paykel wide drawer dishwasher and a new Smeg wall oven. A large, leaking bay window was replaced with a double glazed corner window.
A creamy Caesar Stone Nimbus bench top ties in with the existing floor tiles that contrast against the dark stain cabinetry. Finding a kitchen company to match the existing cabinetry was near impossible until Ben’s dad John, an antique furniture restorer, stepped up. He was able to reproduce an exact match of all the finished timber, joinery and mouldings and it was all pre-cut and stained in his workshop to lessen disruption to the household.
Such considerations have not gone unnoticed. Catherine says: “The only time I really felt there were other people in my house was when I was working on the computer in my room and the guys – who didn’t know I was there – were singing out loud outside my door. It was a very amusing morning!”
Beyond the brief
- A variety of surprises can come to light during a renovation. It pays to be aware of common problems and to plan in a contingency budget of around 15 per cent. Here are some of the issues that affected Catherine’s project:
- At the planning stage it was discovered that the grey water treatment system had to be extended.
- On an initial building inspection it was discovered that a spa room that Catherine had built previously was not properly signed off. The Refresh team guided her through the process of meeting the Code of Compliance Certificate requirements.
- When the foundation work started, the team noticed that the underfloor insulation was little more than tatty foil paper, so Expol insulation was installed.
- Much of the existing cladding was found to have been nailed-off poorly, which allowed sun warping and subsequent splitting along the nail lines. This has been replaced.
- As the job evolved Ben and Rodney developed a detailed plan for a covered walkway linking the garage and new art studio to the house.
Make sure you have a look at another Auckland case study Townhouse renovation in Greenlane
This case study by Jason Burgess featured in Issue 005 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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