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A 1950s cottage is relocated to its new Greytown home

For their first foray into the property market a young couple relocated a 1950s house to Greytown. However, events didn’t unfold quite as they expected

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+ The house needed to be relocated from Masterton to Greytown.
+ The 1950s house was a mish-mash of small bedrooms and living areas, with impractical additions.
+ The section had a five-metre road reserve which the couple were unaware of. They had planned to put a garage in this zone.


+ Alex and Matt contracted Brittons to relocate the house.
+ A draughtsman completed pile and drainage plans to ensure it was relocated successfully to the site.
+ The pair opened up the back of the house to create an open living area and transformed four small bedrooms into three larger ones.
+ The garage was moved five metres back and the front yard was made smaller.

A 1950s cottage is relocated to its new Greytown home

After moving home to Greytown in the Wairarapa, Matt Calder and Alex Hutchings planned to settle into the 1950s house they had relocated to their section (their first foray into the property market). However, events did not unfold quite as they’d expected.

The pair had been living in Wellington before their move and both their jobs were still in the capital. A pregnant Alex was working in advertising and Matt was running a car dealership, while a nanny looked after their little daughter, India.

The challenge of commuting an hour and a half to Wellington six days a week, and nights spent renovating, meant that family time was almost non-existent. The stress and exhaustion nearly broke them.“It was horrible – really full-on,” says Matt. “I’d go four weeks without seeing India.”

Eventually, Alex left her job in Wellington and began working part-time from home as a graphic designer. When her workload increased, Matt helped out with a few client meetings.

Realising he enjoyed the work, and desperate to change his commuting lifestyle, Matt left his job to help set up Alex & Matt Creative, an agency focused on graphic and digital design and media strategy. To come up with the capital to start the business, the couple decided to finish renovating their house and sell it for a profit.

Expert Q&A with Draughtsman Willem Van Der Laan

What process do you undertake when relocating a house?
I measure up the house, write a report on the condition, design the pile and drainage plans, and work out the foundation bracing. Once relocated, I usually inspect the house along with the council.

What challenges did you face with this project?
Houses that are relocated are usually considered to be compliant to old building codes. However, as the client removed and shifted many internal walls, the wall bracing needed to be recalculated for the house. We had to come to a solution that satisfied the council and the clients.


Our budget was fluid. It grew as we discovered how we would live in the house with our girls. The total cost of the renovation was around $160,000.

Supply shop

– Concrete kitchen bench made by Deco Precasters
– Kitchen floorboards were existing, bleached with a limewash.
– Carpet from Flooring Xtra
– Decking timber from ITM

Words by: Fiona Ralph. Photography by: Nicola Edmonds. Video by: Melissa Tapper and Lakshmi Beresford.

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