Transforming a residence into a rental in Ōwhata, Rotorua

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Converting a 1970s home into a modern rental property is no small task, especially when plumbing upgrades are necessary. But this renovation proves that thorough planning makes all the difference.

Before After
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Ready to rent

Rotorua is one of Aotearoa’s most popular destinations for local and international tourism. Homeowner Luis had a centrally located property with sprawling views and wanted to monetise his Ōwhata property by converting his cottage-style home into a comfortable vacation rental. He had taken on self-managed home improvements in the past which didn’t yield the best experience or results. 
This project had multiple components — new flooring, the addition of a powder room, and an upgrade to the kitchen — so Luis wasn’t taking any chances. He reached out to Refresh Renovations Rotorua for expert help managing his project and was connected to local Renovation Consultant Hemz Morjaria, who would guide him through the renovation.   

Defining the full project scope

Hemz and Luis discussed at length his goals for this renovation during the initial consultation. Overall, Luis wanted to optimise the property for holidaymakers, creating private access, converting the laundry into a powder room, updating the kitchen, and improving the general aesthetic to make it more attractive to renters. He didn’t have a strict budget initially but did prefer that the renovation be completed as soon as possible so it could begin generating income. 
As the two worked through potential design ideas they were able to refine the scope of the project. In addition to the cosmetic upgrades Luis had planned for, it became clear that the 30-year-old hot water cylinder needed replacing. An upgrade to the plumbing was also required to support the new wetback fireplace.* 
In these final planning stages, Hemz and Luis were able to define all of the project details so Hemz could provide the cost estimate. Luis’ was anticipating spending somewhere between $25,000-$30,000. With the addition of the hot water cylinder and related plumbing work, the total came to $37,000. Luis saw the value in executing these additional components and was happy to proceed with the construction. 
*A wetback fireplace supplements main water heating systems. Water pipes are installed behind the fireplace, drawing heat from the fire to provide additional hot water for the home.

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Getting to work

With the go-ahead from Luis, Hemz coordinated a skilled team of contractors to execute the building phase. The crew got to work, beginning with demolition. From there, they began to rebuild the interior by putting up new framing, gib and plaster while implementing new electrical wiring and plumbing. With the bones of the unit built, the design began to take shape. 
Aside from unavoidable supply chain issues, the team carried on swiftly throughout the construction. They laid new, durable SPC flooring with a wood-look pattern and installed the kitchen cabinetry. One of the most impactful changes during the build was relocating the laundry outside to make room for the additional powder room, which included a toilet and compact vanity. After seven weeks of hard work, Hemz and the team delivered the final renovation to Luis.

A modern design

Hemz’s background as an interior designer is evident in the results of this Ōwhata renovation. Although the kitchen and living area is compact, it has everything needed for a comfortable guest stay — a small fridge, microwave, and plenty of bench space. The marble-look splashback also brings an air of elegance to the quaint cottage. 
The new SPC flooring ties the entire design together as it’s used throughout the bedrooms, kitchen, and bathrooms. SPC is a smart material choice for a vacation property as it presents a luxury finish while being extremely durable and cost-effective. 

Final Thoughts

Thanks to Hemz, the team, and their collective hard work, Luis not only got an excellent rental unit but a stress-free renovation experience; something his previous projects lacked.
Luis’ property has already seen dozens of visitors (as of January 2023) and received great reviews, with an average rating of 9.5 out of 10. Luis himself has some thoughts about the results:

“Fantastic kitchen and lovely transformation. The water pressure with the upgrade is from another life. Heavenly!”

Would you like to discuss your home renovation ideas?

Get in touch for a free consultation with your local Renovation Consultant.

This project was completed in
February 2023
Project description
Primary residence to vacation rental conversion
New Zealand
Project duration
7 weeks
Cost estimate
Actual cost
Supply chain issues.
Interesting aspects
A compact but well-appointed kitchen.
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Hemz Morrjariya is a Renovation Consultant of Trusted Partners NZ Limited, a franchisee of Renovation Franchise Ltd, doing business in Rotorua.

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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If you would like to find out how Refresh Renovations can support you with a high quality, efficient home renovation, get in touch today. Your local Refresh consultant will be happy to meet with you for a free, no obligations consultation.

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