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Having a Christmas-ready home was key to this family’s revamp

A revamp of this Auckland home’s living areas has a created beautiful blank canvas to showcase the clever owner’s Christmas style

Having a Christmas-ready home was key to this family’s revamp

Vanessa, what were the best lessons learned?
To never take on a renovation when you are time poor. We started ours the first day of the October school holidays, which is my busiest time work-wise. I don’t think there is ever a good time to undertake a renovation, but I had my heart set on it being done for Christmas so we could enjoy it.

My elder daughter also dislocated her kneecap a few days before the start of the renovation, which meant instead of being away on holiday with her dad and little sister in Rotorua doing fun things, she spent a week on the couch downstairs in the living room with her leg up and the renovation going on around her.

What would you never do again?
We would never live through the renovation – next time we’re moving out! We underestimated how much of our house would be taken over with people and mess.

DIY disasters?
We had a custom corner shower made for our downstairs bathroom with a shower tray recessed into the floor. The tilers tiled over the edge of the tray, which meant the glass and the tiles didn’t line up as they were a few centimetres out. Half the bathroom tiles in and around the shower had to be lifted up, the shower tray re-waterproofed and new tiles laid. This wasted time and money.

What’s one thing you would change about your home if you could?
We would love a garage (we only have a carport). Our bikes, garden equipment and other sporting stuff all live under the house. It’s always such a pain getting stuff out and then back in again.



How did your budget compare to your actual spend?
We budgeted $100K and it came in at $120K. The kitchen cost $53K including all new appliances: hob, dishwasher, microwave, fridge and oven.

What areas did you splurge on?
We invested money into better storage, which has been worth every cent. We also invested in good-quality brands like Miele, Asko and Smeg. The other area we splurged on was floor tiles and wooden floors.

Do you tend to buy high-end homeware or seek out a bargain?
I am exposed to amazing brands as a stylist. However, when it comes to buying things for my home it is a mix of high-end and bargains. I would say I am a Country Road Home person. I love their clean lines and the minimal look of their homeware. Over the years I’ve bought some great homeware at Kmart, EziBuy and The Warehouse and mixed them with some of my high-end design pieces – the key is in how you present them in the home.

Best advice when it comes to spending money on a home?
Buy what you love, not what you like for now. I used to change things up in my home frequently (normally cheaper accessories and cushions) but since the renovation I have only had a few things out on display. I know the design pieces I have bought will be in the home for some time now.

How did you keep track of costs?
We worked out a rough budget per room. I got several quotes so we had a clear idea where we needed to tweak. We did go over budget, but it was all on things we could not have foreseen, eg rot behind the bathroom walls and a new meter board needed to cater for our new hob.

Words by: Catherine Steel. Photography by: Melanie Jenkins.

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