WORDS Persophene Nicholas PHOTOGRAPHY Vanessa Craggs
When Emma and Simon How decided to renovate the only bathroom in their 1950s single storey family home in Hawthorndene, South Australia, they weren’t sure which building company to choose.
Emma ended up with quotes from four different companies and decided to go with Refresh Renovations’ Nielen Prince after he impressed her with the amount of time he spent discussing the project with her.
“The bathroom was very dated. It looked as though it was trapped in the 1980’s,” explains Nielen. “Emma and Simon wanted to modernise it and give it a fresh new look ahead of the rest of the house being extended.”
“One of the problems was that the existing shower was positioned over the bath, making it very awkward. We recommended removing the bath and just having a shower unit,” says Nielen. He also advised replacing the full height wall between the toilet and vanity with a privacy wall to open up the space and allow the feature tiling to be seen.
The project turned out to be much bigger than the Hows or Nielen had anticipated: when the Refresh Renovations team started work it became obvious that the bathroom needed far more than a facelift.
Tiles were coming off walls, the Gyprock beneath the tiling was rotten and had to be replaced, the structural uprights didn’t comply with SA building regulations and the integrity of the entire bathroom wall was compromised. To top it all off, the ceiling lacked proper support and needed to be strengthened with laminated veneer lumber.
This structural work had to be completed without delay, but since it wasn’t included in the original scope for the job, Nielen needed to ensure the Hows were happy to proceed.
There was just one problem - the Hows had decided to go on holiday while their only bathroom was out of use. That made sense, but when removing the old bathroom revealed problems, Nielen had to get in touch straight away. He sent Emma and Simon text messages and photographs to show them what was going on and then they had a quick chat over the phone to agree the way forward.
Once the structural aspects of the job were completed, Refresh Renovations could finish the job without delay.
After tiling, the new shower, sink, tapware, vanity, toilet, pendant lights and towel rails could be installed. Emma had chosen most of these already and Nielen was happy to work with her selections and make sure the remaining elements complemented them.
“I sourced the tiles and a custom-made vanity cabinet and a special long towel rail and all the other fittings that went with it, plus the sinks and taps. Nielen took me around and showed me other options, which was helpful, but he never put me under any pressure,” she explains.
The project took around five weeks from start to finish and the Hows are delighted with their new bathroom.
“The old bathroom was awful. It had a brown toilet, scratchy, textured walls and the tiles were falling off. Now it’s exactly what I envisaged,” says Emma. “I can just go in and use the bathroom and enjoy it. It’s neat and pretty and I love everything about it.”
She says Nielen listened to what she and Simon wanted and took the time to come up with creative solutions.
“Nielen really impressed me with the amount of time he spent with us. I got quotes from four different companies but we went with Nielen because he understood we didn’t want to change the structure of the bathroom and took the time to give us options.”
“I’ve already recommended Nielen to others,” Emma says. “He was an absolute pleasure to deal with.”
Nielen says the secrets of a successful renovation are straightforward: “Very clear communication, good management of expectations and clear and effective decision making are all critical. Employing quality trades is an absolute must too.”
He’s delighted his clients got the result they were looking for.
“Emma knew exactly what she wanted and we were very happy to help her achieve it. She absolutely loves her new bathroom and has already recommended us on Facebook!”’
The focus of Refresh Renovations is on delivering excellent customer service and value by incorporating design and using world class systems and processes. If you're thinking of renovating or looking for a builder, talk to Refresh at 1800 33 60 33 or enquire online.
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