An unexpected turn of events saw this Christchurch couple transform a house that didn’t tick all the boxes into their dream family home
Who lives here?
Steve Galbraith (owner and director of Galbraith Engineering), Shelly Galbraith (homemaker and casual ANZ customer-service representative), Millie, and Gus, plus Archie their ancient dog and Suki the cat.
In 2008, when Christchurch couple Shelly and Steve Galbraith were looking for a new family home, they considered buying a quirky, architecturally designed Port Hills home built around 1970. The angles, pitched rooflines, high ceilings, wooden interior linings, unusually shaped windows and multiple levels appealed to Steve but not so much to Shelly. Instead, they chose to buy a lifestyle property and set about taming the land and renovating the site’s 100-year-old cottage.
But along came a very large spanner in the works…
After the 2011 earthquake, their fully renovated cottage was so damaged it became one of the first in the region to be demolished. The pair rented for the next 18 months and began working on plans to build a new home on the site. But, in a surprising twist, just two weeks before their land was deemed unsuitable for a rebuild, the hill home Steve had always fancied came back on the market. They moved in at the end of 2013 and over the following two years worked tirelessly to turn Steve’s vision into a reality, modernising and modifying the stylish 1970s house into their ideal family home.
Style secrets for seventies-style homes
Try it out for style If possible, buy with a right to return. Many times we saw treasures we thought looked terrific on the shelf or shop floor, only to find the piece was not suited to our interior. Go with what you think you like but don’t be afraid to choose again if your first pick is not right.
Mix it up Try to retain original features where possible and, if necessary, soften or change the look by adding contemporary elements. The combination of old with new highlights and accentuates architectural and design features.
Words by: Ady Shannon. Photography by: Kate Claridge.