A home can be renovated but you can't build a view. Big changes were made to this beachfront property so that it could be more livable for the long term.
Nestled between the Kapiti Coast and Wellington City lies the idyllic seaside town of Plimmerton, where homeowners Fraser and Mel live with their three teenage boys. Their beachfront property was ideally located close to their parents, so they weren’t keen on moving anytime soon. But their 1960s home was making it hard to stay.
As is typical with many New Zealand beach houses built in the 1960s, the home was quite indicative of the building standards of the era — DIY construction and below-code building methods. Most of these homes intended to be used simply as a weekend crash pad, so they weren’t planned with longevity in mind.
Looking towards the future, Fraser and Mel contacted Renovation Partner Nick Leko to help them give their beloved home a second wind. Their main goals were to modernise the 1960s beach house and create more space for their growing boys.
In their initial consultation with Nick, Fraser and Mel discussed their ideas and explored opportunities. Ideally, they wanted to build a second story extension and with a rough budget of $600,000. Nick had this house extension plan drawn up into a concept by Leko Architects. However, after assessing the budget requirements, he anticipated the cost to be upward of $1,000,000. As this was too far above their budget, Nick headed back to the architects for a revised design.
The new concept proposed a single story extension and complete renovation. This design would still achieve Fraser and Mel’s goals while coming in much closer to their budget. Since this was a renovation for longevity, Fraser and Mel wanted a great design but still required good budget management from Nick. With some unforeseen obstacles typical of older properties, the full renovation and extension cost came to $850,000 and was completed in just under a year.
As with many older home renovations, as construction began issues were unearthed. One of the main challenges was the slab foundation being half as thick as it should’ve been. Not to mention it was built on the garbage left behind by the previous builder. There was no choice but to rebuild and bring it up to code.
Due to its coastal frontage, the project required both building consent and resource consent. Luckily, Fraser and Mel didn’t have to deal with the council because Nick managed the entire project from start to finish — one of the many perks of professional project management.
After fixing the slab and obtaining consent, the team continued on with demolition, waste removal, insulating, fencing, plastering; and the list goes on. Anything the project required, Nick got it done. Over 20 different tradespeople and multiple suppliers were necessary to make Fraser and Mel’s dream home a reality.
The property’s extension houses the new kitchen and dining area. A colour palette of contrasting neutrals works well to balance the airy beach house with a sophisticated look – though it’s not distracting from the stunning coastal view.
White overhead cabinetry, walls, and timber beams make the room feel large and open. Meanwhile, unique marbled black and brown benchtops tie in well with the black splashback and exposed timber cabinets and flooring. The extension received all new appliances and, for a finishing touch, a trio of crystal pendant lights as an opulent embellishment.
The entire home received upgraded interiors, including all bedrooms, bathrooms, the laundry, living room, and garage. While all improvements have made a significant difference to the home’s livability, the renovated living room captures the most attention.
With reconfigured walls and entryways, the new layout has wholly improved the functionality of the living area. Where a doorway once connected the space to the previous kitchen is now an impressive built-in bookshelf. The shelving makes an art piece of the back wall, while the opposite end of the room features large windows facing out toward the ocean.
New double glazed windows mean no longer having to choose between the beautiful coastal views and drawing thick curtains to keep the draughty cold out. And making another big improvement, the ceilings have been updated with timeless white shiplap, which perfectly complements the newly white beams.
Moving to the exterior, a triple-panel sliding door off the extension allows effortless flow between the dining area and the new deck that leads down to the additionally new lower patio. Extensive work was done outside the property that has ultimately improved the overall functionality and established more outdoor living areas with an ocean view.
Notable upgrades include the mirror-image extension, updated colour scheme, and new fencing – all of which contribute characteristics of a contemporary, seaside home.
By creating more space and renovating the existing space, Nick and his team have improved this family home tremendously. The result is a spectacular coastal property that’s retained the style of its original structure. The interiors still feature the same pitched ceilings, but they’ve become significantly more sophisticated and functional. Exterior upgrades such as the beautiful new deck seamlessly extend the living areas outdoors, making the most of the ocean views.
Between developing the concept, obtaining the council and building consent, and managing the myriad of tradespeople, Fraser and Mel could’ve ended up with quite the headache. But with Nick as their single point of contact, it’s clear that using professional project management was the right move.
Nick Leko is Renovation Consultant of Sexton Leko Ltd, a franchisee of Renovation Franchise Ltd, doing business in Wellington
Costs are accurate at the time of publication. Plan ahead to reduce the impact of industry changes or disruptions. For more information see here.
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