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A forlorn cottage is given a new lease of life for just $30,000

Nestled in a quiet corner of Swanson, a tired cottage was crying out for a makeover. Luckily this Auckland couple was in the market for a DIY project

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A forlorn cottage is given a new lease of life for just $30,000

When renovation rookies Kristina Rapley and Ashton Lines-Sherwood were looking at getting into the Auckland property market in 2014, they soon realised they weren’t going to get what they wanted immediately.

“We had to start thinking long term,” Kristina says. “We couldn’t afford something amazing, but if we found a bargain and put some work into it, there was the potential to make a lot of money.”

The idea was to find a house that needed some serious TLC and the pair would spend every spare minute they had renovating it, in the hopes that when all was said and done, they would have enough in the kitty to afford a bigger, more long-term home.

“This was all Ashton’s idea, I should point out,” says Kristina. “I didn’t have a DIY bone in my body and quite liked our clean and tidy rental close to the city!”

When the couple visited the first open home for the two-bedroom 1950s cottage beside a golf course in Swanson, West Auckland, they knew it was the one. “It was hideous, almost uninhabitable,” remembers Kristina. “The wallpaper was peeling off the walls, there were stickers all over the windows, the carpet was ripped to shreds, the layout was all wrong – it was perfect!”

Eric Thompson of Pacific Coast Kitchens discusses fit-out

What were you hoping to achieve with the fit-out?
Kristina & Ashton didn’t have a lot of wall area to work with so bench space and storage were at a premium. The layout of the original kitchen also didn’t make the most of the view, so I installed an island on industrial castors which gave them a good chunk of bench space and looked out at the view. We also managed to fit in three drawer units, a good sized pantry and incorporated the rangehood and more storage in some overhead units.


Ktichen – $10,000
Bedrooms – $5000
Lounge, study nook – $5000
Outdoor – $10,000

Supply shop

– Laminate cabinetry and wood laminate bench top from Pacific Coast Kitchens.
– Subway tiles from Mitre 10 MEGA.
– Taps from Mitre 10 MEGA.
– Knobs, handles and sink from Heritage Hardware, sourced through Pacific Coast Kitchens.

Lounge, study nook
– Original rimu floorboards throughout, sanded and polished.
– Study nook window from a demolition yard.

– Decking and picket fence from Mitre 10 MEGA.
– White paint – custom colour by Wattyl.


Photography by: Helen Bankers.

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