Homestyle New Zealand - - STYLE -

Three years ago, Liv and Dave Pa­tience left the hos­pi­tal with their first child – and a new home. “I’d just given birth to our son Archie and had surgery due to post-labour com­pli­ca­tions, and hours later Dave shot off to an auc­tion with my dad to buy our first home!” re­calls Liv. “He was ob­vi­ously pretty keen on it.”

The large weath­er­board house on a full site in the leafy sub­urb of Ti­ti­rangi was in its orig­i­nal con­di­tion, with good bones and huge po­ten­tial. The fam­ily lived in it for a year while they worked out ex­actly what they wanted, then be­gan an over­haul. Once again, cir­cum­stances were less than ideal.

“We be­gan ren­o­vat­ing when I was preg­nant with baby num­ber two, and I was so sick with hy­per­eme­sis gravi­darum [se­vere morn­ing sick­ness] that I don’t even re­mem­ber the de­sign process,” says Liv. “We com­pleted the ren­o­va­tion when Sylvie was eight weeks old.”

Both Liv and Dave are ex­pe­ri­enced ren­o­va­tors. Dave, a builder and owner of DP Con­struc­tion, has built and ren­o­vated homes for more than a decade and says their in­sider knowl­edge helped them to cre­ate a dwelling they truly love.

“We spent a lot of time plan­ning it out to­gether and look­ing at lay­out op­tions. The chal­lenge for us was try­ing to fit a lot into a small foot­print. We had to ne­go­ti­ate how to use each space, and let each other have a few wins so we both got our way.” •

“I’d col­lected sam­ples of ev­ery­thing I liked and was able to pull them out when­ever I needed to make a de­ci­sion or adapt to a change that had to be made,” says Liv. A lover of soft, calm­ing shades, she de­vised the colour pal­ette around their olive green sofa from Si­mon James and the kitchen’s ex­ist­ing mint green bench­top.

The kitchen island is a stand­out fea­ture and a gam­ble that paid off. “I was de­sign­ing a café at the time and had been re­search­ing rammed-earth tech­niques,” says Liv. “I thought it could be a nice idea for our kitchen island – plus it would give me a chance to do a practice run at home be­fore do­ing it in the café. I con­vinced Dave we should do it, and he sug­gested us­ing con­crete, so he packed it out, poured in the con­crete in lay­ers and added ox­ide to cre­ate different colours. We love the end re­sult and it’s as solid as a rock, so it doesn’t mat­ter if the kids ram their bikes or toys into it.”

For all the cou­ple’s tal­ent on the DIY front, there’s some­thing to be said for let­ting the ex­perts do their job. “Tradies have a wealth of knowl­edge and ex­per­tise in their fields, and I have a re­newed re­spect and ad­mi­ra­tion for builders,” says Liv. “It’s one thing to de­sign a home, but to build it is quite an­other. Sur­face work like skim­ming, paint­ing, restor­ing fur­ni­ture, in­stalling shelves and land­scap­ing is rel­a­tively easy to do your­self. But it’s quicker and in the long run cheaper to hire a reg­is­tered builder, plumber and elec­tri­cian to do what they do best.”

As with any ren­o­va­tion, there were a few slip-ups along the way. But as Liv says, “It’s these mis­takes that have grown on me and cre­ated some un­ex­pected char­ac­ter in the house.” •

TOP LEFT Liv, Sylvie, Archie and Dave on the Out­line sofa by Si­mon James De­sign that in­formed their home’s colour pal­ette. ABOVE New slid­ing doors open the din­ing area to the deck and offer a fan­tas­tic view of the city in the dis­tance. An Ikea pen­dant...

ABOVE Liv says she adores her and Dave’s bed­room, which is painted in Du­lux Madigan. “It’s so calm­ing and peace­ful – you feel it the mo­ment you walk in. It has the lux­u­ri­ous feel of a ho­tel room and is my ul­ti­mate hide­away.” RIGHT & OP­PO­SITE Sylvie’s...

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