A fresh take on a 1970s family home in Hoon Hay, Christchurch

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kitchen renovation with blue tiles

After a relaxed concepting phase designing a new kitchen, bathroom, and laundry area, the pressure was on to deliver this project on time once baby was on the way.

Before After
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Looking for guidance

At the beginning of 2021, Emma and her partner purchased this 1970s 3-bedroom property in Hoon Hay with the intention of sprucing it up to be more complementary to modern-day living. The kitchen, bathroom, and laundry area were at the top of the renovation list; they were keen to get started but unsure how to do so. Emma had reservations: the couple were “new to Christchurch, knew no tradies and had no experience with DIY or renovations in general,” so they were eager to enlist help from an expert. 
Emma submitted an inquiry to Refresh Christchurch and was connected with local Renovation Consultant Alison Scarlet who then visited the property to discuss their goals and expectations. 

Expert advice

Initially, Emma planned to alter the kitchen layout by removing a west-facing wall to allow for more light. Alison worked the request into the concept designs, though they soon discovered a wall removal didn’t align with their $100,000 budget. But this early in the process, it’s easy to make changes. 
Alison suggested maintaining the kitchen’s existing footprint since layout changes and external joinery from adding windows are costly. She reassured the couple that, by utilising clever solutions within the design, they’d achieve their overarching goal of bringing more light into the space without breaking the bank. Emma and her partner were happy to take Alison’s recommendation and move forward with the revised plans.  

Time to get going

When the design process began, the couple were in no rush but timing soon became important when they learned they were having a baby. Living in a construction zone while pregnant is less than ideal so the couple arranged to stay with family in the North Island for the duration of the project. “We loved being able to vacate the house and trust that Alison had everything planned and under control.” Now that there were strict time constraints, Alison worked diligently to meet the deadline. 
Construction began with demolition and re-framing. Then the discovery of asbestos brought work to a halt. Positive test results showed asbestos present in the old linoleum flooring — commonplace for houses built during the 70s — and the soffits where the new venting was to be installed. Alison arranged for all asbestos to be professionally removed as soon as possible so the project could stay on track. 
Another challenge faced during this renovation was the scarcity of GIB. Luckily through collaboration with the builder, Alison sourced what was necessary and the project experienced no delays. After navigating a few more hiccups, including a larger-than-anticipated hot water cylinder (HWC), Alison delivered the finished renovation on time and just under the agreed-upon $123,000 price point. The couple, new baby in tow, were thrilled; “We were very impressed that even with Covid affecting the supply of materials and staffing we were back in our house only 4 days after the projected date.”

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The finished project

Although the layout in the kitchen remains the same, removing the ceiling-mounted cabinetry allows much more light to fill the now unified dining and kitchen spaces. Abundant downlighting and a light neutral colour scheme both enhance the airy feel of the new space, one of Emma’s main goals for the kitchen. 
Utilising materials to further achieve the light and bright design motif was a smart suggestion by Alison; the translaminate door leading to the new laundry space creates separation but doesn’t feel restrictive. Even with the new HWC relocated to the laundry room, the space has been maximised by removing a redundant door between the laundry and toilet. Now with the extra wall space, the washer and dryer can be stacked safely.  
The bathroom was positioned next to a bedroom from which the new bathroom design borrowed some space to allow for a larger shower. A heated towel rack and sleek modern vanity now stand in place of the cluttered, old vanity. 

Final Thoughts

Alison’s meticulous project management delivered a modernised home on time and within budget. Emma and her family were able to move in with nothing left to be done as Alison had covered everything, right down to the final site clean. The homeowners (and their new baby, of course) are thrilled with their comfortable new home and have left Alison and the team a glowing review for their efforts:
“Our main concerns were around cost when using a service like Refresh but now being at the end of the project I can honestly say if we did it again I would use the service again. Working with Refresh meant that we benefited from their experience, contacts, and knowledge of the process. If we tried to pull the whole thing together ourselves. I believe we would have gone way over budget, unable to lock in tradies at the right times, and would basically still be living in a half-done house.
Alison kept us in the loop at every stage, made it very clear when something changed that may impact the overall cost, and offered advice when our not-very-creative minds couldn't decide on things like paint colours or flooring type.
Overall, this project has been stress-free for us and we now have a beautiful, modern living space. Thank you to Alison and everyone who helped make it happen.”
Would you like to discuss your home renovation ideas?

Get in touch for a free consultation with your local Renovation Consultant.

Would you like to discuss your home renovation ideas?

Get in touch for a free consultation with your local Renovation Consultant.

This project was completed in
May 2022
Project description
Kitchen, Bathroom, laundry renovation
New Zealand
Project duration
7 weeks
Cost estimate
Actual cost
GIB shortage
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Alison Scarlet is Renovation Consultant of Scarlet Manuka Holdings Ltd, a franchisee of Renovation Franchise Ltd, doing business in Christchurch.

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