The client wished to keep many of the unique features of this home.
Renovating an older home that’s already seen a few changes can pose a number of challenges; a Feilding project proved no exception for Refresh Renovations specialists Wayne and Anna Gordon. “There were all sorts of head-scratching questions,” says Wayne. “The home-owner’s father was an old-school ‘brickie’ and it was important to the family that we retained a brick archway he’d created between the dining room and kitchen. We complemented it with work that continued the curved theme dictated by these features. Another special feature is the striking circular window in the vestibule which the owner’s father rescued when a granny flat was added to the house.”
House design considerations
“But would we be able to get the new kitchen through the dining room archway to assemble it? Could we demolish and remove the wall linings without damaging the brickwork? Could we restore or remodel the original tongue and groove ceilings? All these questions took input from a number of trade specialists and often involved a process which was complicated and meticulous. There were implications to every design decision made, but we’re really pleased with the end look and the results.
The dwelling, one of Feilding’s early villas, was built in the period around 1910 to 1920. A bathroom and kitchenette at one end of the house had already been updated and this next project focused on the main kitchen, dining and laundry areas. These held many special memories and it was important to achieve the desired outcome but still keep any improvements true to the unique style of the house. “It’s a very personalised design with a lot of input from the client,” says Wayne.
The people he works with are all excellent and the end result is exactly what was wanted
The benefits of working with a Refresh Renovations franchise
Wayne’s client was already familiar with the Refresh Renovations process; “Refresh deal with the minutiae from scheduling to finding additional experts where needed.” Given the sophistication of many of the proposed design features, the experts in Wayne’s team were to prove invaluable.
This was no straight-forward makeover and building consents were required. A corner and exterior wall of the kitchen and one external wall of the dining room were removed; the sub-floor in the kitchen and dining areas were replaced because they were uneven and not strong enough to carry the slate tiles – this had to be carried out without disturbing the brick archway; a porch was encapsulated to enlarge the dining room, the entrance from the old kitchen to the new dining area was moved and a new vestibule added ; the kitchen was reshaped; a brick fireplace and chimney in the wall between the laundry and the dining room was removed as was an under-used and under-sized hall cupboard - the reclaimed space was integrated into the new laundry which was remodelled to create a modern space with plenty of storage, integrated drying racks and appliances; a doorway to the laundry from the house – something which had not previously existed – was built; and, perhaps one of the more challenging aspects, the curved tongue-and- groove ceilings in the kitchen and dining room were implemented.
Carrying out the house renovation
The main aspects of the build took around 10 months says Wayne, largely because of the sequencing that had to be considered through the installation of a curved window – a design feature that Wayne describes as “a bit of an engineering feat’ – but one that’s added a whole new dimension to the kitchen.
“The curved external corner wall had to be built to the stage where the joiners could design and build a window frame which then had to be checked for fit before it could be glazed. And until that was done we couldn’t finish the cladding or lining. The whole process with the window was huge,” he says. Manufacturing actually took around 4 months, in part because New Zealand has just one manufacturer of curved glass, who, perhaps not surprisingly, has a waiting list. Another challenge for the Refresh team was the kitchen joinery. “We engaged a specialist kitchen designer whose brief was to design a kitchen to fit the space while keeping to the curved theme throughout, even with the 90’ walls.” The decision was made to use Caesarstone® engineered stone for the benchtops and a matai timber-look laminate on the facades. Black slate tiles which have given the kitchen a more stylish and contrasting finish that complements the cabinetry replaced the original vinyl flooring.
As Wayne says, “It was an extremely complicated process. Floor to ceiling, we basically had to discuss every curve in the house with the sub-trades because one issue would flow into another. And sometimes things had to be worked through and solved on site, rather than in the architectural designer’s office.” Rather than working to a set budget, the design challenges meant much of the work was carried out with estimates, not quotes. “With a design that’s quite new and ground-breaking in many ways, the trades-people involved couldn’t accurately pre-determine the labour and materials required. Obstacles and issues had to be solved as we went, often with various trades and joiners debating the best way to achieve the desired results.”
The new home
Wayne delivered on the Refresh promise, says the homeowner. “The people he works with are all excellent and the end result is exactly what was wanted.” And while there were a few finishing touches to be completed, the project was delivered in time for a special family event – without the addition of trade vans and power-tools!
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*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.