A boring, beige 1940s home is given a top-to-toe update

 A smart eye for potential has seen an Auckland couple refresh this beige Orakei house into a light and airy home that includes plenty of pops of colour 

Who lives here? 

Jenni Shields (lady of leisure), and Wayne Shields (manager), plus their dog, Lillyjack.

Problems and solutions 

  • Problem: The kitchen, though functional, was showing its age with pine cabinetry, Formica benchtops and old appliances. It was time for a fresh new look.
  • Solution: They got rid of the outdated cabinetry, benchtops and well-worn appliances and replaced them with contemporary fittings and fixtures in glossy white.
  • Problem: An outdated bathroom just had to go. Plus they wanted to add a separate guest toilet next to the guest bedroom upstairs.
  • Solution: They gutted the old bathroom and started afresh, installing a stand-alone bath, glass shower and marble-look tiles on the floor and walls. They also created a separate guest toilet.
  • Problem: There was a distinct lack of storage throughout the house.
  • Solution: Relocated the downstairs laundry to a nook in the garage, freeing up space for a large storage cupboard in the downstairs lobby.

Lessons learned 

  • Don’t take shortcuts; do it once and do it properly.
  • Do not compromise on quality.
  • Be prepared for the unexpected and have a contingency fund.

Expert Q&A with builder Josh Dowling from Fine Finish Homes LTD

How long did you work on the project?
Approximately 14 weeks.

What was the biggest challenge you faced?
The main bathroom.

None of the walls were square and the old shower had been leaking, revealing significant water damage. It turned into a major. The clients wanted the bathroom to last forever so I lined the walls and the floors in 10mm fibre cement board, which was a bit of a mission as it was time-consuming, dusty and hard as anything to cut.

Words by: Annick Larkin. Photography by: Emma MacDonald.