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This determined couple can finally call their quake-damaged cottage home

It wasn’t an easy road to repair this quake-damaged cottage; now this determined couple share top reno tips and the best bits from their new home

Meet and greet

Rachael Beeton, and Simon Risdon, counsellor, plus black cat Bagheera.

Rachael’s reno tips

  • Plan, plan, plan. Eighty percent of the preparation is in the planning. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you won’t get what you want.
  • Make your home a home for you. Live in the now and create spaces that work for you. We had lots of advice to retain the third bedroom but I can’t imagine when we would ever need three bedrooms.
  • Choose quality for fixtures and fittings that you use every day.
  • If you have the chance to redecorate a space, think of it in conjunction with the entire project. It’s important to have some continuity. We were lucky enough to do our home in one hit. Oak, mirrors, iron and gold are themes I’ve repeated in different areas.
  • Pick a builder you can have the hard conversations with. It’s important to be able to argue with your builder, and then make up.

The best bits

  • Everything. We love living here. It’s fabulous. I love that I can wear normal clothes now, year round. I no longer have to wear hats and rugs all winter.
  • Renovating is amazing. Planning for, and knowing, the outcome can only be good.
  • Every day I remember how we once lived here and I am just so grateful for the transformation.
  • We love spending time in the garden. My plan is to fill every space over time so that you never have to weed. I love fresh flowers. I keep all my neighbours supplied with fresh flowers.
  • We paid exactly what we expected to pay for the project. We don’t regret any purchases. Perhaps the only thing I would change is to have a picture window in the lounge rather than French doors. It’s a beautiful outlook into the garden and we don’t really use the doors as we have another set in the dining room.


The repair cost was estimated to be $450,000 and this was the amount paid out by the insurers. Simon and Rachael opted for some improvements and added an additional $30,000 to the overall spend

Scroll to take a tour through this special rebuild.


Words by: Ady Shannon. Photography by: Kate Claridge.

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