Inside homes

In Wellington a 1900s heritage home is full of light, life and love


A clever reconfiguration, embracing imperfections and lots of white paint transformed this historic Wellington house into a dream home for this busy family of seven

Who lives here? 

Matt Christie (manager at IBM), Sarah Christie and kids Boston, 14, Baker, 12, Anabelle, 8, Bridie, 6, and Paddy, 3, plus Kybi the Labrador, Oreo the cat and Mr Bunny the giant rabbit.

Family-friendly style tips  

  • Buy industrial-quality furniture and fittings where possible – it’s harder for kids to break!
  • Don’t be afraid to remove fitted storage such as wardrobes and cupboards. It creates space and helps you get rid of stuff you probably never use anyway.
  • Buy only those things you really love – or wait until you find something you do love.
  • Hard-wearing sisal carpet is child-resistant, lasts a long time and works well with wooden floors.
  • If you can, put doors on a slider to create more space when they are open.
  • Having fresh flowers, or even a branch from the garden, can help distract from a messy house and a large washing pile!

Renovation problems and solutions

  • Problem: We needed additional bedrooms upstairs so that each of the children could have their own room.
  • Solution: We relocated the bathroom to a part of the existing hallway. We then moved the walls in the massive room upstairs to create an additional bedroom and a smaller upstairs bathroom.
  • Problem: There were heritage features in the bedrooms, such as handbasins, which we needed to remove to create more space.
  • Solution: We removed the handbasins and also cleared an unused area, where an old chimney used to be, and put a set of bunks there.
  • Problem: We wanted to open up the living area downstairs to accommodate our large family.
  • Solution: We knocked down some walls, took out some built-in cupboards and doors, and removed an outside toilet. We then added windows and doors to link it all up.

Words by: Sharon Stephenson. Photography by: Nicola Edmonds.

A clever reconfiguration, embracing imperfections and lots of white paint transformed this historic Wellington house into a dream home for this busy family of seven

Who lives here? 

Matt Christie (manager at IBM), Sarah Christie and kids Boston, 14, Baker, 12, Anabelle, 8, Bridie, 6, and Paddy, 3, plus Kybi the Labrador, Oreo the cat and Mr Bunny the giant rabbit.

Family-friendly style tips  

  • Buy industrial-quality furniture and fittings where possible – it’s harder for kids to break!
  • Don’t be afraid to remove fitted storage such as wardrobes and cupboards. It creates space and helps you get rid of stuff you probably never use anyway.
  • Buy only those things you really love – or wait until you find something you do love.
  • Hard-wearing sisal carpet is child-resistant, lasts a long time and works well with wooden floors.
  • If you can, put doors on a slider to create more space when they are open.
  • Having fresh flowers, or even a branch from the garden, can help distract from a messy house and a large washing pile!

Renovation problems and solutions

  • Problem: We needed additional bedrooms upstairs so that each of the children could have their own room.
  • Solution: We relocated the bathroom to a part of the existing hallway. We then moved the walls in the massive room upstairs to create an additional bedroom and a smaller upstairs bathroom.
  • Problem: There were heritage features in the bedrooms, such as handbasins, which we needed to remove to create more space.
  • Solution: We removed the handbasins and also cleared an unused area, where an old chimney used to be, and put a set of bunks there.
  • Problem: We wanted to open up the living area downstairs to accommodate our large family.
  • Solution: We knocked down some walls, took out some built-in cupboards and doors, and removed an outside toilet. We then added windows and doors to link it all up.

Words by: Sharon Stephenson. Photography by: Nicola Edmonds.

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