After the Christchurch earthquake this homeowner was looking for something petite and fix-uppable… so how did she end up here?
Falling in love with this unusual Christchurch home wasn’t part of the plan…
When the February 2011 earthquake hit Christchurch, the two-storey, art deco-inspired home Denise Renalson shared with her partner was no match for its force. In the aftermath Denise was content to rent somewhere smaller for a while, but in October 2012 when her relationship foundered, she made a plan to downsize further and find a cosy, single-storey place that could benefit from a makeover. But an impressive photo layout in a glossy real-estate magazine gave her second thoughts. “I saw this place advertised and I thought it looked interesting,” she says.
The colonial-style home, less than a kilometre from her former residence, overlooks the willow-lined banks of the Heathcote River and an expansive park beyond. Denise was smitten from the moment she crossed the threshold. Undeterred by the land’s TC3 rating (which means it is at risk of liquefaction damage in large earthquakes) and the identified risk of one-in-100-year flooding, she was tempted to make an offer. The slate roof, rough-hewn brickwork and large garden were also “just a little off-putting”, but Denise was encouraged by advice from her lawyer. “He recommended I buy a place I adored rather than let perceived risks cloud my judgment.” She decided to go ahead and buy the home even though it was significantly different to the ‘ideal’ property she had earlier imagined.
DAYS OF BLACK AND WHITE
Four years on, Denise has made some changes to the home and garden to reflect her personal taste and lifestyle. A gravel drive on the boundary line leads to the front door, but guests are far more likely to enter via the trellised gate on the street. A path leads through the private garden, across a wooden bridge over the fish pond and up to the sun-drenched courtyard and patio area. The house forms an ‘L’ shape and multiple sets of French doors run along the inner sides of the ‘L’, connecting the beautiful tiled passageway inside to the concrete-tiled patio.
Since moving in, Denise has replaced many of the window treatments and exchanged the original green carpet for one in charcoal. The dark grey shade is more in keeping with her furnishings and the home’s black and white colour scheme. The interior has been repainted in just two tones: white for all joinery and ceilings and a combination of half-, quarter- and full-strength Resene ‘Napa’ on the walls.
MEET + GREET Denise Renalson, 49 (co-owner of a contracting business), and Mini Cooper the British Blue cat.
ENTRY, HALLWAY, LIVING ROOM This wonderfully airy, colonial-inspired home enjoys a light, bright interior thanks to over-height ceilings and a wide central hallway lined with windows and French doors.