WORDS Sharon Stephenson
Some people don’t do things by halves. People like Tim Walters, owner of the Rodney and North Shore Refresh Renovations branch.
In June 2013, Tim and his wife Kirsty bought their 1970s three-bedroom home in Orewa, north of Auckland, as a family home for themselves and their two daughters, Eva (8) and Isabella (6). It ticked all their boxes, being on the flat, near the beach/public amenities and with a 809sqm section. The couple planned to demolish the house and build two or three in its place.
But when they realised that would deny them the 290sqm home their growing family needed, they launched into Plan B: sub-dividing the land into a 330sqm block at the rear of the section on which to relocate the existing house (which they planned to renovate and sell), as well as a larger 480sqm at the front of the section on which they could build a spacious family home.
The three-pronged project started in Jan 2015 and by July 2016 the couple were ready to renovate their former home which had been moved 40m back from its original position.
Although the 110sqm house had the proverbial ‘good bones’ and classic 70s design, it was badly in need of love. The bathroom had been updated around 10 years ago but that was the extent of it.
“Nothing had really been done to it. It was dated but had raked ceilings, angled windows and lots of potential to drag it into the 21st Century,” says Tim, who bought his two Refresh franchises four years ago.
The first step was to realign the space to make it more user friendly. That involved swapping around the kitchen and dining rooms.
Says Tim: “The kitchen was originally in the middle of the house, with little connection to the dining and living spaces”.
So he “bowled out everything between the kitchen and the dining room”, which opened up the space and added a classic Moda kitchen which works perfectly in the setting.
When it came to the bench-top, the couple wanted the stone look but without the $2K price tag. Plus, they wanted something the new owners could easily change if it didn’t suit their taste. So the couple opted for a laminate top which has the same look as an engraved stone bench but at a snip of the price ($800).
Tim’s wife Kirsty wasn’t, however, willing to compromise on the concrete-look tile splashback she had her heart set on.
“The tiles were $100 a square metre, but for only about 2sqm metres, it was well worth it and, including the tiler, it was probably still cheaper than glass. Plus it does look pretty awesome.”
The couple also ripped up the dated carpet which revealed original Tawa flooring underneath. Tim says Kirsty wanted to polish the floorboards but he wasn’t convinced.
“I’m not really a fan of polished floorboards, particularly in this case, because natural woods are so soft that after a while they end up getting marked and don’t look that great. Instead, I suggested we lay a laminate flooring in the open-plan living room, kitchen and dining as well as in the hallway and the laundry.”
In the three bedrooms, the couple laid new carpet and skim-coated the walls to achieve a smoother finish. And then they painted both the inside and outside.
Six months after the house was moved, the couple finished the renovation. Although it took them slightly longer than anticipated (thanks to delays in manufacturing) they are thrilled with the result.
In mid-February this year they put their former home on the market. There has been much interest in the renovated dwelling and the couple is confident of a sale which will then free them up to break ground on their dream home at the front of the section - a 290sqm two-storey contemporary designed house. Their anticipated move-in date is early July.
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