A bathroom renovation for a farmhouse: Smart solutions yield fantastic results in Tahawai, Bay of Plenty

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Modern sink and glass shower cabin

The bathroom in this charming farmhouse needed both functional and cosmetic upgrades to bring it up to standard so the homeowners could enjoy it for years to come.

Before After
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A long-awaited project

Refresh clients Jim and Bronwyn owned their Tahawai farmhouse for decades and, after 15 years of consideration, were finally ready to renovate their bathroom. They’d gone through the process of having a consultation with an independent builder some time ago but opted to pass on the project at the time as they deemed it too pricey. 
As time went by, day-to-day issues with the bathroom began to wear thin on Jim and Bronwyn; poor water pressure, difficult-to-clean surfaces, and the space had a constant chill. The couple also wanted to address the bathroom’s accessibility to improve its ease of use, future-proofing for years later. They reached out to Refresh Renovations and were connected with local Renovation Consultant Barry Brown who would guide them through the entire process. 

Learning about the process

Jim and Bronwyn explained to Barry during their initial consultation that they had no idea where to start nor the potential cost; much time had passed since they last discussed the possibility of a renovation with a professional. Barry outlined the Refresh process for Jim and Bronwyn, detailing each phase to illustrate what they’d encounter during their bathroom renovation.
Neither Jim nor Bronwyn had the knowledge or desire to self-manage this renovation so they both saw great value in partnering with Barry and were eager to continue on.

Refining the project scope

Initially, Jim and Bronwyn estimated their project may cost about $60,000 but after defining the scope of work with Barry and Project Manager Sharon, they discovered that number to be unrealistic. Due to the age of their home, a lot of functional updates were needed. Working drawings are part of the 5-step Refresh process and assess logistical factors such as structural integrity and safety.
In the case of Jim and Bronwyn’s farmhouse, a new hot water cylinder (HWC), pipework, switchboard, and metre needed to be installed as well as replacing crooked walls and flooring substrate. The cost estimate, which included all of the above, came to $95,000. The team worked closely with Jim and Bronwyn to make compromises elsewhere within the plans to keep costs down without sacrificing quality or results.

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Final planning 
Ultimately, Sharon’s smart solutions provided within the final scope — utilising a tile alternative to avoid the time and costs associated with the council for a fully tiled shower — allowed Jim and Bronwyn to reallocate some of their funds for aesthetic upgrades. After nearly two months of thorough planning, the homeowners were happy to give their seal of approval and construction could begin. 
Demolition marked the start followed by straightening walls, installing new floors, pouring concrete to support the new HWC, waterproofing the bathroom, and upgrading the electrical. As the project progressed it was time to install details. The team had anticipated using a recessed product for the shower to create a niche shelf, but the narrow framing couldn’t accommodate it. But thanks to Barry and Sharon’s established relationships with suppliers and contractors, the crew came up with the solution to install a glass shelf with chrome detailing instead. 

Fantastic finish

All the details that took weeks to plan culminate in a cohesive design that address all of Jim and Bronwyn’s concerns. The Atlantis shower with Ellure tile-look walls that Sharon recommended provide the appearance of a fully-tiled shower without the maintenance or cost. The low-profile entry and channel drain ensure maximum accessibility for the future. 
The tap on the laundry tub was also upgraded to a pullout tap with adjustable settings to accommodate ‘’showers’’ for Jim and Bronwyn’s little dog, Tilly —  a thoughtful detail that goes to show no stone went unturned during the planning process, something that Jim and Bronwyn noted in their glowing review of their experience with Refresh; “Just had our bathroom renovated by Refresh Renovations. They couldn't have done a more beautiful job. Sharon Giblett was our designer and helped us from start to finish. Choosing colours, tiles, and even vanity and shower. She made sure all of the tradies arrived on time too. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them for any work to anyone.”
It’s safe to say that all parties are thrilled with the results, including Tilly!
Supplies were sourced from Resene, Mitre10, GIB, Plumbing World Mt Maunganui, Atlantis, Newtech, Dulux, and Flooring Xtra Tauranga.

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This project was completed in
June 2023
Project description
A bathroom makeover
Bay of Plenty
New Zealand
Bronwyn and Jim Cooper
Project duration
7 weeks
Cost estimate
Actual cost
Interesting aspects
Tile-look shower
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Sharon Giblett is Renovation Consultant of Diamond NZ Ltd, a franchisee of Renovation Franchise Ltd, doing business in Tauranga.

Barry Brown is a Renovation Consultant of Diamond NZ Ltd, a franchisee of Renovation Franchise Ltd, doing business in Tauranga.

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 Renovations consultant will be happy to meet with you for a free, no obligations consultation.

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