With the arrival of baby number two, Neil and Marsha were in need of more space. Having sold their St Heliers unit, the pressure was on to find their new family home.
After searching for months but losing out at numerous auctions, they finally spotted their future. A 1960’s state house in Beachlands.
“It was far from perfect and was literally a house dropped onto an undeveloped section,” says Neil, “but we weren’t afraid of rolling up our sleeves and knew with some hard work we could create something special. We prepared ourselves for a battle at the auction and we won!”
The house was relocated by the previous owner. Although they’d completed interior renovations and added a concrete driveway, the exterior needed a lot of work to transform it into the family home Neil and Marsha saw the potential for.
How the house looked before the work started:
How the same area looks now:
“We spent a lot of time planning the outdoor areas,” says Neil, “Because our house is small compared to most new builds, we wanted to really optimise the flow between structures and spaces, thinking about play space and entertaining space for the kids, and creating an outdoor extension of our open plan living.”
Neil and Marsha have amassed an impressive list of exterior improvements since purchasing the property in 2015, including building the garage, adding a rear fence, completing extensive landscaping, adding retaining walls, 65 square metres of decking, and repointing and painting the roof.
The biggest challenge along the way was dealing with the weather. The soil is predominately clay and was hard work wet or dry.
New space from nowhere
The substantial retaining wall built along one boundary of the section gained an additional 2 metres of decking and garden space. The newly built garage was positioned close to the house and given a complementary colour scheme to match.
The extra-large 65 square metre decking area in hardwood wide board Vitex was positioned to maximise privacy, shelter and sun, and the new addition of the pergola added sun and rain protection for use as an ‘outdoor lounge’ all-year round.
“We intentionally planted mostly in natives,” says Neil. “We engaged with a landscape designer before getting started to get another perspective and adopt best practices in landscape design.”
The outdoor decking area with integrated gardens and retaining wall is now their favourite part of the house: “We just love sitting on our outdoor sofa and being surrounded by so much lush planting and earthly colours.” says Neil.
Funds permitting, Neil and Marsha plan to install new bi-fold joinery off the dining space to connect to the covered deck area.
After moving in, the discovery of massive roof space was put to great use for storage by installing attic stairs for ease of access.
Neil and Marsha were also delighted to find just how well positioned the house was: “Our living spaces are really light and sunny,” says Neil. “Two of the three bedrooms get all day sun, and the sunsets are incredible.”
Attracted to the modern colour scheme of greys with white joinery, Neil and Marsha chose to continue the striking monochromatic colour scheme for the exterior landscaping, combining Resene Grey Friars and black for the fencing.
This matched the existing charcoal grey, concrete tile roof and timber weatherboards in Dulux Whakarewarewa. Framing the house are white eaves and stained black baseboards.
The perfect finish
The recent addition of the brand new Marley Stormcloud® spouting in glossy black, makes their home one of the first in the country to have Marley’s latest colour addition to the Stratus Design Series® range. Black is now available in Marley Stormcloud® and Typhoon® spouting, and RP80® downpipes.
Our old spouting and downpipes were white which made the home feel a bit dated. We believe the black has truly transformed the modern look and style of our home.
“With rainwater our only supply of water and water safety imperative for our family, we went with Marley uPVC because it was certified to potable water standards. Being only 700 metres to the coast durability was really important also as we didn’t want to risk corrosion or rusting over time from metal spouting.”
Stormcloud’s quarter-round profile was chosen to suit the architectural style of the 1960s home, with the added bonus of being the perfect solution to the constraint of the house’s short fascia boards.
When asked what advice Neil would give others looking to undertake a similar project, he said: “Plan, plan, plan but have plenty of fun in the process. Be open to new ideas and where possible prioritise good building materials, quality plants and great tradespeople.”
A special mention goes to James Hall, from Halls Contracting Limited. James built the deck and pergola and Neil and Marsha were particularly impressed with his workmanship.
The biggest lesson of all? “Always listen to your wife,” says Neil.