With their impressive credentials including winning The Block NZ and completing over seven houses together, Alice and Caleb sure know a thing or two about renovating. We discover the important lessons they’ve learnt over the years
Meet and greet
Alice Pearson, director of Pearson + Projects), Caleb Pearson, property development manager), Alek, 4, and Mika, 2, plus Nala the dog.
The Block NZ’s Alice and Caleb share their hard-won reno lessons
People fall into one of two camps, says Alice Pearson: you either do one house renovation and vow to never lift a hammer again, or you start looking for your next project the minute you lay down your tools on the current one. Alice and husband Caleb definitely fall into the second category. Their present home is their sixth renovation – or the seventh if you count the one they overhauled in the 2013 season of The Block NZ, which they won.
On their checklist were: good bones, small enough to pop on the back of a truck and fit down a tight driveway, and a layout that would work with the 327-square-metre site and suit decking that would connect to the backyard. And good light.
“Light makes such a difference to houses. So much of a home is about the feel and atmosphere,” says Alice. “No matter how well you renovate a house, if it’s dark and gloomy even white walls won’t fix it. Experience has given us confidence in our ability to find houses with true potential.”
Alice: We’re definitely outsourcing more these days. With young kids, time is more precious and it costs to have babysitters, so I gladly outsource things like wallpaper stripping!
Don’t compromise on quality but shop at the right places – invest the time to know where to shop and to know what quality is. Buying well doesn’t mean buying the cheapest, but saving the most money while buying a quality product. Otherwise you’ll buy something cheap, it’ll break and you’ll have to buy a new one, which defeats the whole purpose. Look for ends-of-line or go on Trade Me and see if people have ordered too many of something and are selling off the surplus.
There’s a real benefit to being on site every day and managing all the tradies so you can oversee things such as where they put light fittings or switches. Don’t assume they will make the right choice for you. Some of our tradies FaceTimed us to make sure it was right.
Words by: Debbie Harrison. Photography by: Helen Bankers.