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A seventies-style New Plymouth home gets a total renovation

A tired old home in New Plymouth needing some love has been transformed into a light, functional and character-filled family home


In a snapshot

Who lives here?

Andy Gane, Louise Gane, Connor, and Emilie.

Where is it?

New Plymouth.

What did your home look like before?

It featured retro ceiling tiles, built-in pelmets, carpet and vinyl flooring over chipboard throughout, and walls with multiple layers of wallpaper and paint. The kitchen and bathroom were both cramped and had fixtures which were falling apart.

What was your vision?

Our ultimate goal was to have a home that functioned well for our family and reflected our style.

Renovation details

What state was your house in?

We bought our home from a developer who had given it a basic, beige facelift in preparation for a quick sale. After five years, the quality of the facelift was showing – peeling wallpaper and lino, leaking plumbing, and kitchen and bathroom fittings which were falling apart.

Our priorities were changing the kitchen, bathroom and laundry fittings and joinery, and replacing the retro ceiling tiles with plasterboard. Also top of the list was the removal of the built-in pelmets over the windows.

YH0716_MKE_ThenNow_Old house - dining


Was your renovation about more than just beautification?

Yes – functionality was very important. As well as replacing the faulty plumbing, we turned the lean-to spa pool room into a more useful family space – it is now an office/play space.

We were also keen to capture sunshine. Our house is northwest-facing, but the kitchen and dining area was dark. The addition of skylights over the dining table has not only made the space feel more open, it lets in the morning sun we were missing. Extending a wall in our kitchen to create a galley layout has given us plenty of bench space and opened up the area, enabling conversation to flow between the kitchen and dining table. And, as the house had no insulation, we decided to insulate and re-line the walls.

Best makeover moment?

Seeing our overlay rimu flooring laid and varnished. We love timber floors but knew there was only chipboard lurking beneath the existing carpet and lino, so laying rimu tongue-and-groove floorboards over the chipboard was a big cost but one we decided we could justify. The installation of our new kitchen and bathroom was also momentous.



Louise, describe your decorating style:

Our home reflects a minimalist, eclectic and earthy style. We love mid-century design, and although those beautiful pieces are outside our budget it does influence our choices. We also wanted to retain an element of the house’s 1970s character – for example, we kept the rimu sliding door into the lounge and left the rimu hallway doors unpainted.

How have you dressed your home?

Our furnishings are inexpensive. Everything in our home has been accumulated slowly over the six years we have been here. All the furniture was either picked up secondhand and refinished or reupholstered, or we have bought the cheapest new pieces we could happily live with. Most of the decor items were crafted, thrifted, or were gifts from family.

Worst makeover moment?

Negotiating conflicts with subtrades.  And the endless painting – which we still haven’t finished!

Any pleasant surprises?

The plywood joinery in our bathroom cost less than expected. It is totally wonderful, without a hefty price tag.

Renovation tip

We have put in many hours of work where we could – demolishing, insulating and painting – all of which I would recommend paying someone else to do if the budget allows.



How much did you spend on furnishing your home?

Nothing at the time of renovation – all our furnishings have been accumulated over the last six years.

Did you go over budget?

We thought $50,000 sounded like a reasonable amount to spend, but it soon became obvious that wasn’t realistic.

Total: Approx $80k

Words by: Kristina Rapley. Photography by: Jane Dove Juneau.

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