When Jodelle Clark and husband Geoff were about to move into the homestead of their Southland dairy farm they were unsure whether to demolish the house and build new, or extend the original building and modernise it.
Geoff had grown up in this house built by his grandparents in Hokonui, near Winton, and surrounded by mature ornamental trees and gardens, many of them planted by his grandfather. Its location is stunning but, with four children growing up very quickly and a busy lifestyle, the couple knew they would find the three-bedroom house a tad cramped.
While the house was only 50 years old we felt it needed freshening up
“And with four kids and three bedrooms we thought some extensions were needed to create extra space. We wanted a new kitchen, bathroom, at least one more bedroom, aluminium windows and better insulation.” says Geoff.
Luckily Jodelle’s brother Brad Rule works in the building industry and he, alongside Jason Scott from Scott Design and Build, were able to talk them through the pros and cons of building new versus full renovation, with the couple eventually deciding on the latter.
“Brad was the first person we talked to about the project,” says Geoff. “He and Jason spent a few hours walking around the house, working through ideas with us. He then organised for us to talk to an architect.”
Jodelle had very clear ideas of what she wanted: “Classic, contemporary, with a high-pitched roof, plenty of space and it had to fit in well with the established surroundings.”
However, when the drawings came back from the architect the couple were dismayed to find the renovation was going to cost way more than they had planned. “After working through all the detail with the architect, both of us were feeling extremely happy with the plans, but somewhere along the line he forgot about the budget,” says Jodelle. “It was a real let-down for us and we thought we were going to have to start all over again.”
But, thanks to Jason, the project was able to go ahead. “He picked up from where the architect left off, changed a few things, looked at it from a builder’s perspective and came back with a quote in line with our budget and house plans that we were really excited about.
“He also ran a cost comparison for us so we could see where the renovation was cheaper than a new-build,” says Jodelle.
Jason, who is based in Queenstown, then employed Winton builder Brendon Mitchell so the Clarks would have someone local working on their project, and he ended up becoming site manager, project manager and builder all rolled into one.
With Brendon handling most of the construction and Scott Design and Build helping out with bigger jobs such as installing roof trusses, the build went reasonably smoothly, apart from the odd challenge, recalls Geoff.
“There was the matter of a garage wall that we intended to turn into the outside wall of the master bedroom, but we then found that there was no reinforcing. So that whole wall had to be demolished and rebuilt. And Jodelle changed her mind, twice, on a display cavity up the hallway, among other things.
“Brendon was patient with Jodelle’s changes and with the demands of having to deconstruct large parts of the original house before we could begin the new parts. There were two months of taking things away before we could start adding the new.”
By ‘new’ Geoff means a seriously impressive addition that includes a very big (100 square metres) open-plan living, dining and kitchen area running through the centre of the house from north to south, two more bedrooms, a large master with ensuite, a rumpus room, office and laundry. These rooms form the eastern end of the house while the structure of the western side, including the three boys’ bedrooms, remains as it was originally.
Not that you can tell where old and new begin now. The rebuild cleverly knits the two sides of the house together internally and externally so they read as one contemporary structure. On the outside Jodelle and Geoff decided to have the red brick of the existing parts of the house plastered white, repeating this strategically around the entire exterior to tie in the old and new. “The plastered brick and Linea weatherboard cladding together give us a really modern look with traditional materials,” says Geoff.
The brick and weatherboard cladding together give us a really modern look with traditional materials
Number one on the wish-list of features inside was an open fire in the living room. The fireplace in the original house didn’t throw out much heat but the family loved the look and feel of an open fire. “This one we can load up with heaps of wood or a big log from the farm and it pumps out a significant amount of heat. We have a lot of trees planted around the farm so it makes practical sense as well,” says Geoff.
Of equal importance was the large, nearly five-metre-long island bench in the kitchen, particularly for Jodelle who loves cooking and entertaining. Although the bench might look too big in some spaces, because the open-plan living area is so spacious it works proportionally, she says.
“With a family of six, having plenty of room in the kitchen helps and we can seat seven or eight people around the bench when we entertain. It’s just so much easier with our busy lives having our meals at the island bench. Our daughter, Poppi, sometimes likes to set the dining table properly with name tags etc. So we eat at the dining table then, and of course for special occasions.”
Words by: Carol Bucknell. Photography by: Elizabeth Goodall.