A fam­ily af­fair A gaudy 1980s house is clev­erly re­worked into a mod­ern, fun and func­tional home

The Law clan’s can-do at­ti­tude and in-house ex­per­tise helped trans­form this dated East Auck­land house into a mod­ern, fun and func­tional home

Your Home and Garden - - Contents - Text by An­nick Larkin. Pho­tog­ra­phy by He­len Bankers.

OH-SO-EIGHT­IES The house was built in the early 1980s and the kitchen and bath­room were both in their orig­i­nal state. The home’s great­est trib­ute to its era, though, was clearly a cen­trally lo­cated glass atrium which housed a spa pool. “It was very strange as ev­ery­one would have been able to walk around the house look­ing at you!” says An­gela. Aside from its odd­ity, the atrium was also a waste of pre­cious floor space. “It def­i­nitely put buy­ers off pur­chas­ing the house,” re­calls An­gela. “We overheard sev­eral peo­ple com­ment­ing on it at the open home but, luck­ily for us, we could see the atrium’s po­ten­tial.” BACK­GROUND An­gela and Cliff Law weren’t look­ing for a pro­ject when they walked into a do-up down a quiet cul-de-sac in 2010. But where oth­ers were quick to dis­miss its dark and dated 1980s in­te­rior, this cou­ple had a hunch that it could be the fam­ily home they were look­ing for. “Its bones were great,” ex­plains An­gela, “but it had thread­bare av­o­cado car­pets, wood-pan­elled walls rem­i­nis­cent of a log cabin, dark ceil­ing beams, a peach en­suite and pur­ple-glit­ter lino floors.” How­ever, the house’s lo­ca­tion in the east­ern Auck­land sub­urb of How­ick sealed the deal. “It’s in an ex­cel­lent street, safe and quiet, with a large re­serve at the end,” says An­gela. They pur­chased the rather for­lorn house with the firm con­vic­tion that it could be­come a light, bright haven for them­selves and their four chil­dren.

THE KITCHEN

The kitchen is the heart of the mod­ern fam­ily home and to An­gela it is the most im­por­tant room in her house. “I al­ways knew I was go­ing to have white cab­i­netry and I love the look of a high-gloss fin­ish,” she says.

As the bud­get was tight, An­gela scoured Trade Me for bar­gains and picked up her Aris­ton oven and in­duc­tion cook­top for a song. “The oven and cook­top came from a showhome and, al­though they had never been used, were still con­sid­ered sec­ond­hand. This meant the price tag was con­sid­er­ably less than if we’d bought new,” ex­plains An­gela. She also picked up the in­dus­trial pen­dant lights and splash­back sub­way tiles for less than $100 in to­tal. “I love find­ing bar­gains as it al­lows you to do more and buy more things,” says An­gela.

THE PLAN

The cou­ple and two of their chil­dren, Beau and Krissy, lived in the home for about a year and a half be­fore the ren­o­va­tion be­gan. “It was a hard slog, but we could see the big pic­ture,” re­calls An­gela. “The kitchen had only two work­ing stove­top el­e­ments and most of the cup­boards were fall­ing apart.”

Dur­ing the ren­o­va­tion, the cou­ple planned to in­stall a new kitchen, move the en­try­way, en­close the atrium to cre­ate a din­ing room, and carve out an open-plan liv­ing space with gen­er­ous in­door-out­door flow. They en­gaged ar­chi­tect Sarah Mug­geridge, who drew up plans to con­vert the home’s dated in­te­rior into a beau­ti­ful, con­tem­po­rary fam­ily home. Un­for­tu­nately the house’s Mo­du­lock con­struc­tion – where the walls don’t have any fram­ing – made things a lit­tle more com­pli­cated. En­ter Airey Con­sul­tants, a struc­tural en­gi­neer­ing firm, who pro­posed ex­tra metal brac­ing in or­der to pass in­spec­tion.

BED­ROOMS

Back when the fam­ily first moved in, the mas­ter bed­room was en­tirely cov­ered in var­nished wood pan­elling. As soon as she was able, An­gela painted over it in Re­sene Karen Walker ‘Milk White’. As the bed­room wasn’t huge, An­gela and Cliff de­cided to in­stall a slid­ing door to the walk-in wardrobe as a space-sav­ing strat­egy. “I’d seen barn doors on Pin­ter­est so I thought we could add some in­ter­est by hang­ing one in our bed­room,” says An­gela. She hunted around and ended up pur­chas­ing a 100-year-old door on Trade Me. Cliff restored and painted it be­fore at­tach­ing it to the hard­ware An­gela had pur­chased on­line. “I got the barn slider hard­ware brand new for $190, which in­cluded de­liv­ery from Amer­ica,” she ex­plains. “It was a great find as the cheap­est we could get in New Zealand was in ex­cess of $800.”

In Krissy’s room, An­gela gave her daugh­ter free rein to choose her own colours and fur­ni­ture. “In the six years we have lived here, this is the fifth colour com­bi­na­tion Krissy has had,” smiles An­gela. Her cur­rent look features black vinyl wall dots, soft pink and plenty of tex­ture. The dresser was another in­ex­pen­sive pur­chase on Trade Me which An­gela up­cy­cled in An­nie Sloan chalk paint.

THE WORKS

In 2012 the ren­o­va­tion was in full swing. An­gela and Cliff did most of the work them­selves – aside from a few struc­tural jobs that had to be done by a reg­is­tered mas­ter builder. Their el­dest son, Wade, is a plumber by trade so was able to do all the plumbing work. Brent Holzer, an elec­tri­cian and close fam­ily friend, in­stalled all the wiring at cost, which also helped to keep the bud­get un­der con­trol. Cliff’s build­ing ex­pe­ri­ence came in handy, too – he did all the tiling and in­stalled the kitchen, bath­room and tim­ber floors through­out.

“I did most of the paint­ing and bought all the fur­ni­ture and fit­tings, which is my favourite thing to do ever,” smiles An­gela. It would take a fur­ther year be­fore all the build­ing work was com­plete. “We lived in the house the whole time,” ex­plains An­gela. “It was a bit like camp­ing – we cooked on an elec­tric fry­ing pan and did the dishes in the bath.”

MAKE IT MONO­CHROME

The ef­fect An­gela wanted to achieve when ren­o­vat­ing her home was a feel­ing of bal­ance and calm. A time­less combo of black and white with sub­tle ad­di­tions of colour cer­tainly hits the brief, but also makes this a prac­ti­cal and com­fort­able home. “You’re al­lowed to put your feet on the cof­fee ta­ble here – it’s dis­tressed any­way – and feet and pop­corn are also okay on the couch,” says An­gela. In the din­ing room, a fea­ture wall painted in Re­sene black­board paint is both chic and func­tional. “It pri­mar­ily orig­i­nated from the need to have some­where for the fam­ily to write down where and what they were do­ing,” ex­plains An­gela. “But it also came from my love of black and white.” Al­though al­most ev­ery wall in the house is white, An­gela’s use of tex­ture and pat­tern means the mono­chrome pal­ette is far from flat. Splashes of colour, tim­ber ac­cents and pot­ted green­ery have been used with re­straint, but bring warmth and per­son­al­ity to ev­ery room.

An­gela Law, 44 (mas­sage ther­a­pist), Cliff Law, 45 (spe­cial­ist gym floor in­staller), Beau, 23, and Krissy, 14, plus cat Mor­rin. Sons Gre­gor and Wade live in the UK.

MEET + GREET

In­dus­trial lights and sub­way tiles in the clean, white kitchen were a bar­gain find on­line and per­fectly com­ple­mented the look An­gela had in mind.

A fea­ture wall in Re­sene black­board paint of­fers an area for fam­ily no­tices and reminders, as well as in­spir­ing quotes and art­work. The home’s dark wood pan­elling was painted white through­out and off­set with black ac­cents in­clud­ing a black­board fea­ture wall in the din­ing area. The liv­ing area is a cosy and ca­sual space de­signed for chilled-out fam­ily time and movie nights.

When they moved in, the mas­ter bed­room was pan­elled in var­nished wood. As soon as she was able, An­gela painted over it in Re­sene Karen Walker ‘Milk White’

Add splashes of green­ery to bring life and colour into a space. Even the tini­est cac­tus or fern will have an

im­pact!

A slid­ing barn door saves on space in the mas­ter bed­room and was in­stalled at a frac­tion of the go­ing rate due to An­gela’s keen nose for a bar­gain. A round mir­ror (this one is $35 from Kmart), soft­ens lots of ver­ti­cal lines. Lap­pljung Ruta cush­ion cover,

$29.99, from Zoomly. Gen­eral Eclec­tic Her­ring­bone

throw, $129, from Shut The

Front Door. Round mir­ror with shelf, $35,

from Kmart.

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