A classic villa gets a modern bathroom, laundry and exterior makeover in Hamilton East, Waikato

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For a property built in 1910, this Hamilton East villa was in great shape. But the bathroom and laundry area were lacking in the modern-day amenities department.

Before After
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New bathroom in a new country

New to New Zealand, homeowner Ian wasn’t well-versed in renovations, neither the process nor the cost, but he wanted to update the bathroom and laundry room in his Hamilton East villa. He approached Refresh Renovations to organise an initial consultation so he could get a better understanding of what lay ahead. 
Renovation Consultant Mark Docherty visited Ian’s property so they could chat. During their consultation, Ian outlined his qualms regarding the existing bathroom. There was a shower/tub combination which he didn’t feel was practical; he much preferred the idea of a walk-in shower. The laundry area, right outside the bathroom, needed some attention as well. He and Mark continued to discuss the scope of the project and Mark explained the 5-step Refresh process in depth to help Ian feel more comfortable moving forward. 

Project support and guidance

While Ian was unfamiliar with renovation costs in New Zealand, he still wanted to get the most bang for his buck. He wanted a modern design that complemented his style without over-investing. Mark worked to provide Ian with detailed concept designs to clearly illustrate the proposed bathroom. The layout was kept largely the same so that they could utilise the existing electrical and plumbing utilities; a cost-effective choice for budget-conscious renovations. 
Ian was happy with the concept designs and was keen to move forward. There wasn’t a strict timeline in place but, considering bathrooms are an essential facility, Ian wanted the project executed as quickly as possible. Mark estimated the bathroom renovation would take between four and six weeks. 

Unpleasant surprises

As they progressed to the building phase, Mark brought in his in-house project manager Murray Driver to oversee the day-to-day operations. The team got to work, starting with demolition but soon discovered that a large portion of the timber framing was rotten. Although it was clear that the framing had been rotting for some time, the bathroom’s previous renovation was fairly recent, meaning the rot had been overlooked.
Luckily, Mark, Murray, and the team were keen to do things properly and brought this discovery to Ian’s attention. They discussed the options and decided that in order to move forward safely, the framing had to be replaced. Ian wasn’t thrilled about spending the extra time and money but he appreciated the teams’ integrity and wanted it done right.

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Getting back on track

With Ian’s approval, the project charged on. First, the team removed and replaced the framing, installed new double-glazed aluminium windows, and recladded the exterior — the cladding was directly affixed to the framing so it couldn’t be salvaged. Once these issues were addressed the bathroom and laundry renovation progressed quickly thanks to Mark and Murray’s expert problem-solving and management skills.
10 weeks and $89,500 later, Ian’s renovation was complete. The new walk-in shower features floor-to-ceiling stone tiles in an earthy tone that brings an air of sophistication and modernity to the space. Just outside the updated bathroom, the compact laundry area includes a basin, concealed storage, bench space with power points and a built-in washer/dryer combo. 

Final Thoughts

Ian’s finished project showcases one of Mark’s favourite aspects about renovations: adding modern character to a classic villa. Although there were some challenges during the construction, the final product is fantastic. In the beginning, Ian was unsure about the next steps but Mark came on board and put his mind at ease. 
The rotting framing that was ignored by the previous builders (or owner) is a prime example of how things can go wrong during a renovation, but Mark’s professionalism and quick thinking proves that having a good team behind you is how you make things go right.

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This project was completed in
April 2023
Project description
Bathroom renovation
New Zealand
Project duration
10 weeks
Cost estimate
Actual cost
Discovering rotting timber.
Interesting aspects
Floor-to-ceiling feature tiles.
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Mark Docherty is Renovation Consultant of Docherty Properties Ltd, a franchisee of Renovation Franchise Ltd, doing business in Waikato.

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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