Sophisticated, seven-week kitchen and bathroom renovation

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A renovated kitchen layout allows for more open space, due to a different orientation of the kitchen island bench.

A dated kitchen, entranceway, hallway and bathroom is brought back up to speed with current trends and technologies.

Before After
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When Lesley Campbell and Geoff Carter built in the Wellington suburb of Whitby 16 years ago, their home was designed for a growing family. It’s a large house on three levels that makes the most of a glorious outlook across the Pauatahanui Inlet on the Porirua Harbour to the hills beyond.
Renovated bathroom with modern chrome fittings and white colour scheme with contrasting black tiles.

Renovated bathroom with modern chrome fittings and white colour scheme with contrasting black tiles.

However, since their three daughters left home, they’re finding there’s a bit too much space and the long-term plan is to sell. In addition, what was once state-of-the-art was starting to look its age, says Lesley, prompting a much-needed makeover. “While we’ve painted the exterior and interior walls, the rest was looking tired and dated.”
Although they’re serial builders – this is actually the fourth home they’ve had built – it’s the first the couple have also renovated. And, rather than further complicate two already busy working lives, they chose to hand the project over to a Refresh Renovations builder.

Carrying out the house renovation

The renovation involved completely renewing the ‘working’ part of the house – kitchen, dining room, two and a half bathrooms and laundry, and included 70sqm of tiling in those areas and the entranceway. The homeowners also decided to have the ceilings throughout the rest of the house repainted; the resulting transformation lifted the wall colour dramatically.
Renovated, modern kitchen with island centered to take in the outside view.

Renovated, modern kitchen with island centered to take in the outside view.

Lesley and Geoff, along with their three dogs, relocated while work was underway and the Refresh team had a tight seven-week time frame.
To make it happen she drew up a comprehensive and detailed work schedule. “This was challenging because, for example, I wasn’t able to allow the plasterer to complete his job before the painter started his, which would normally be the case.”


A huge plus for the Refresh Renovations builder and team was a long lead time. “I was able to plan properly and book the tradies early. It also helped that because I’ve done many similar projects I knew what I was doing and what to expect. The tradies were also a great help guiding me with timelines.”

Keeping the renovation on-schedule

But all their planning almost went out the window when the tiler was off work for a week through illness. “I had to re-jig the timetables but the tradies accommodated the changes and we finished on time.”
The time frame wasn’t the only challenge. “Because the house is on three levels we had to consider where to run cables and piping and whether this would damage the floors or ceilings.” The rangehood also became an issue when it was discovered the positioning of the ducting necessitated realigning it by 135mm to sit perfectly over the gas hob. With everyone working together to solve the problem, no time was lost and there were no extra costs.
Six ring gas hob with neutral multi-coloured splashback and granite benchtop.

Six ring gas hob with neutral multi-coloured splashback and granite benchtop.

Builder Chris Black had two weeks to complete his part of the project. He had input into the time frame and says the job was made easier because the clients had moved out. “You don’t lose as much time tidying up every day. It was also a plus having the Refresh team on the job liaising with the other sub-contractors and the clients. They were in constant contact with the homeowners so they were close to what was happening.” As Lesley explains, “We selected the décor but Refresh dealt with all the logistics.”

Carrying out the renovation

The project was “pretty straight-forward” and involved no structural changes. Access to the property was easy and the house is structurally very sound, says Chris.
His team removed the existing tiles and prepared those areas for the laying of new ones; they also removed GIB board in the same areas to 1.2m in height to allow changes to plumbing and electrical work to be carried out, and installed new GIB board when that was complete.
The GIB board behind the showers also had to go, along with skirting and scotia as required. That was then replaced.
The new kitchen layout also meant removing the existing CA slider between the kitchen and entranceway and extending the kitchen wall.
“The only unknown was how the existing tiles would come up so I allowed a P.C sum. It’s the fairest way to deal with this sort of unknown,” he says. As it transpired they were very firmly stuck! “In this case the allowance has worked out OK with the time taken.”
Kitchen renovated to a more modern look with chrome fixtures and plenty of entertaining and cooking space.

Kitchen renovated to a more modern look with chrome fixtures and plenty of entertaining and cooking space.

Ticking off the wishlist

As often happens with such projects, the couple’s wish list was a little longer than their budget allowed.
This meant an overall update won’t be complete until early 2016 when phase two is carried out. Something Lesley can’t wait for; “The renovations make the parts which have not been addressed look even more tired.”
Lesley and Geoff feel as if they’re in a brand new home with contemporary fittings. “While the new kitchen is only slightly larger, the modified orientation of the island has allowed for much better bench space and flow.
“We particularly love the kitchen colour scheme and tile splashback which has given interest and some colour while still remaining neutral – something we feel will be important when we eventually sell the property.”
But as summer rolls on it’s time for the couple to relax and enjoy the view – and start planning for phase two!

Have a look at another Refresh case study: Six-week apartment kitchen transformation.

See Our Testimonials

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This case study by Patricia Moore featured on page 64 of Issue 017 of Renovate Magazine. Renovate Magazine is an easy to use resource providing fresh inspiration and motivation at every turn of the page.


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*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.

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This project was completed in
January 2016
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New Zealand
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