Then & now This sen­si­tive re­vival of a her­itage home shows the dif­fer­ence a lit­tle re­jig and a lot of white paint can make

This young cou­ple brought their sweet her­itage cot­tage into the 21st cen­tury by both pre­serv­ing its de­tails and bright­en­ing the decor

Your Home and Garden - - Contents - Text com­piled by Fiona Ralph. Pho­tog­ra­phy by Wendy Fen­wick.


Why did you de­cide to pur­chase this home? Brit­tany: We had a twobed­room unit that we had ren­o­vated and sold, and we needed to up­size as I was preg­nant with our first child.

When did you move in? Jan­uary 2015.

What did you love about the home? We loved that there was po­ten­tial to re­store it back to a charm­ing cot­tage. We also loved that it had views and a large out­door liv­ing area (for Auck­land and our bud­get).

What did you not like about it? We didn’t like that it had been stripped of all its lovely cot­tage fea­tures. In the 1980s it was re­lo­cated from the street front to the back of the sec­tion and ‘mod­ernised’. The orig­i­nal cot­tage veranda roof had been roofed over with de­cra­mas­tic tiles and the ceil­ings had been low­ered. The gar­den was very over­grown and wild with lit­tle thought put into it. The decks were so rot­ten that we kept put­ting our feet through them and the steps down to the house were steep and not very invit­ing.

Were there any other is­sues you aimed to fix with your makeover? The third bed­room was su­per dark and opened straight onto the liv­ing area, which made it noisy. We moved the bed­room door to open into the sec­ond hall­way to fix the is­sue. We also in­stalled a Velux open­ing sky­light that gave the room amaz­ing nat­u­ral light and a cool breeze on hot sum­mer days.

The reno

What work did you do on the ex­te­rior of the house? We started by plant­ing lots of trees (lilly pilly and Fi­cus ‘Tuffy’). We planted 86 shrubs that grew to form a thick hedge around the perime­ter of the sec­tion. We then re­placed the roof and all the rot­ten deck­ing and painted the ex­te­rior of the house.

And what about the in­te­rior? We painted over the tea-coloured bed­rooms with a crisp white, along with the liv­ing room, hall­ways and bath­room. We painted the old, var­nished tongue­and-groove ceil­ing white, which bright­ened the room mas­sively and gave the house a beachy, coastal feel. We re­moved an old wood­burner and sanded and var­nished the floors. We car­peted all the bed­rooms in su­per-soft, so­lu­tion-dyed ny­lon with an ex­tra-thick un­der­lay to give it a lux­ury feel.

The de­tails

What did you do with the kitchen? We re­moved the old kitchen and re­placed it with a gal­ley-style space that worked much bet­ter in terms of flow.

Did you use tradies or do the work your­self? We did most of the paint­ing our­selves, but used tradies for the rest.

Best mo­ment dur­ing the process? Get­ting rid of the hor­ri­ble 1990s kitchen, com­plete with peel­ing lam­i­nate and bro­ken hinges, and in­stalling the new one!

The process

Any ma­jor dis­as­ters? When or­der­ing our cab­i­netry, we wrongly pre­sumed there was only one ‘Al­abaster’ white, but there are many vari­ants of the colour across dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies. We wanted the kitchen to match the walls, but the cab­i­nets came in a creamy, ivory shade, while the walls are a very pure white. We grew to like the dif­fer­ent tones of white, but we will be a bit more care­ful next time to colour-match prop­erly!

How did you keep the char­ac­ter in your home? We kept it sim­ple and didn’t over-spec things. We drew in­spi­ra­tion from mod­ern, coun­try-styled cot­tages when we de­signed the kitchen and avoided mod­ern el­e­ments. We chose gold or brass fit­tings and hard­ware rather than stain­less steel to tie in with the cot­tage feel.

The re­sults

De­scribe the style you were go­ing for. Our style mor­phed over three years from mod­ern Scandi to a coun­try, beachy, re­laxed look that fit­ted with the char­ac­ter of the cot­tage, with softer, more nat­u­ral tones, wicker, cane and tongue-and-groove.

What’s your favourite fea­ture? As our trees grew around the house, it de­vel­oped an amaz­ing feel­ing of pri­vacy and seclu­sion. The lit­tle court­yard at the front of the house be­came a fab­u­lous spot for hav­ing a drink in the after­noon sun while the kids played on the deck or en­joyed bucket baths.

How did the im­prove­ments a ect your lives? We loved the gar­den, lawn and large decks, and the open-plan kitchen/liv­ing area. We loved that the house was small enough that our ren­o­va­tion was quite man­age­able, but the place felt trans­formed!

Why have you de­cided to move on? We’ve had two kids in the time we’ve been in the house and, at 100 square me­tres, we were start­ing to out­grow it. The new place we’ve bought is al­most twice the size, which is what we need.


What was your bud­get? We spent $100-120K over three and a half years. Of that, $30-35K was spent on the in­te­rior.

What did you save on? We scrapped our plans to ex­tend and saved a lot by mak­ing small ad­just­ments to the lay­out of the house to make it work for us. We painted over the old var­nished ceil­ing in­stead of spend­ing money get­ting it ripped down and the orig­i­nal ceil­ing re­in­stated.

What did you splurge on? We splurged on a beau­ti­ful honed Car­rara mar­ble bench­top which we adored. It gave the house some wow fac­tor. •



KITCHEN A Car­rara mar­ble bench­top and brass hard­ware cre­ated a her­itage feel in the new kitchen while also mod­ernising this tired zone.

BED­ROOMS Fresh coats of Re­sene ‘Al­abaster’ in all the bed­rooms gave them a crisp, new feel and cre­ated a neu­tral back­drop for bed­ding, fur­nish­ings – and cute new ad­di­tions!



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