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A major renovation helped to give this family some much needed space

A villa in serious need of TLC got a second chance when the section next door opened up. See how this family used the extra space to create their dream home

Meet and greet

Andrea Alston, co-owner of Two Smart Cookies, and Paul Alston, CEO of Cavalier Bremworth, Jack, 14, Charlie, 12, and Amelia, 10, plus Spike the dog and Maggie the cat.

A major renovation helped to give this family some much needed space

Andrea Alston and her husband, Paul, didn’t purchase a house so much as buy a patch of land. They’d already seen and vetoed a tired Auckland villa in their search for a home but, six months later, the agent mentioned the adjoining empty section was also for sale and this turn of events sealed the deal for Andrea.

“I knew my boys needed more space,” says Andrea. “When the agent said they were selling the section next door too, I was like, ‘That’s the green space I want. My farm in the centre of Auckland!’” she laughs.


– Not enough space for a growing family of five.
– The house was not an entertainer’s dream.
– The villa was old and in need of freshening up.


– A new addition was built alongside and joined to the villa by a glass corridor.
– An open-plan kitchen, dining and lounge area was created, which opens out onto a large deck and pool.
– As well as new paint and carpet throughout, appliances and whiteware were updated and modernised.

Architect Tim Dorrington‘s vision

What was your approach to this build?
First and foremost we wanted to provide a solution that would resolve the brief. We were also interested in introducing a bit of balance and tension in the built form, so we looked at a composition of contrasts to give a different feel to each section of the house: black versus white, old versus new, open versus compartmentalised, traditional versus contemporary.


Total spend: approximately $979,000 (excluding pool)

Siteworks and foundations: $143,000
New-build: $517,000
Decks: $35,000
Interior finishes: $284,000, including kitchen and cabinetry costs of $53,450


Words by: Debbie Harrison. Photography by: Helen Bankers.

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