WORDS Patricia Moore
When it comes to clinching the deal, the potential to further develop a property can be an important factor for many home buyers. And it’s often the demands of a growing family that see plans eventually drawn up and work begin.
That was the case for the owners of a 1960’s family home with a large basement/rumpus room, in the sought-after east Auckland suburb of Glendowie. Seven years after moving in they realised the time had come to make the most of the largely under-utilised downstairs area. “When we moved in we had only one child; now we have three – two boys and a girl – and the boys really needed a space to call their own.”
The owners envisaged converting the space into two separate bedrooms and a lounge, and while they had an idea about the orientation of the rooms, they took time to discuss other possible design options with the Refresh Renovations design consultant. This also gave them an opportunity to explore some of the finer details like wardrobes and lighting, particularly over desk areas.
Refresh Renovations project manager, Saleem Bhikoo, explains that while the main brief was to create the two bedrooms, plus purpose built study spaces for the boys, and a living / entertainment area, the owners also wanted a Certificate of Acceptance (CoA) for the downstairs bathroom where unconsented building work had previously been carried out. Saleem says this was done before work began on the basement.
“We then renovated the full basement section – about 50sqm – which required going above and beyond the minimum standards required by council, to create a quality living space, building the new spaces as per our architectural designer’s plan, and creating new door openings and exterior windows which were fitted with double glazed joinery. This involved cutting through concrete block walls.”
The scope of the renovation meant the project required building consent and while it was a relatively straight-forward job, there were a couple of unforeseen issues. “These involved the adjustments needed to allow for structural pillars within the concrete block that were not shown on the original house plans,” says Saleem. “However they didn’t slow progress because we proposed a plan amendment to which the client agreed and confirmed the changes through a variation to the approved plans.”
The build and renovation was scheduled to take ten weeks – and it was delivered on time and on budget. The home owners, who had never renovated before, admit they had no idea what to expect as far as costs were concerned. However, the steps involved in the Refresh process - concept to working drawings, quotes and actual build – helped them through this and they explain that while, in the early stages, obtaining retrospective consent for the bathroom felt like the biggest hurdle, “Once the job was underway things progressed well and there were no additional costs, apart from some electrical issues that were not directly related to the project.”
The project would have been impossible without Refresh, say the owners. “As working parents with three young children we could not have even contemplated such a project. Saleem was able to supervise the consent required for the downstairs bathroom which would have been a daunting and lengthy process for us. He also co-ordinated a trusted, hard-working team, which was reliable and efficient. This removed the stress of trying to assemble the right people to do the job.”
They were also impressed by the level of communication throughout the project. “Saleem was always approachable, always happy to discuss ideas.” That communication also extended to the neighbours who were informed renovations were going on next door, and knew to expect tradesmen’s vehicles in the street.
What was a three bedroom home is now effectively a five bedroom house with two living areas and a ‘spare’ room which doubles as study and guest room. “The boys have their own rooms and they’re very proud of this. And because they’re more likely to play in their rooms or in the downstairs lounge, the rest of us get some breathing space too.” Another plus has been concealing the ugly exposed pipes, poles and block base, within fully insulated walls which are now properly insulated. “Previously there was a noticeable drop in temperature when moving downstairs. That’s no longer the case. Downstairs is now fresh, modern and family friendly and I’m already recommending Refresh to other families contemplating renovations.”
Which begs the question - is it time to think about an update for the rest of the house? “Well, it has inspired us to consider modernising the upstairs – everything could definitely do with a coat of paint.”
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