Transforming an ugly duckling into something very special
Renovations can be even more rewarding than building from scratch, and they can certainly be more labour intensive! But there is something infinitely rewarding about transforming a run-down or simply dated dwelling into a 21st Century, contemporary abode.
Design Consultant Phil Herbet has found immense pleasure in the re-build and design of his Auckland home, and the response he is receiving from neighbours and visitors is testament to his vision. "Through the tremendous effort put in by everyone involved in the project, this idea we had of turning an ugly duckling into something far more appealing has been realised," says Phil.
To capitalise on the proximity to the beach as well as the views from the property; Phil wanted to make the house as spacious, full of natural light and open as possible. The home was opened to the outlook, encompassing the sight and sounds of Takapuna, and the sea view out to Rangitoto and beyond. Phil was very involved in the design process, and took part in the many lengthily discussions with his architect to achieve his aspirations for the home. He subsequently initiated the addition to the galleried landing on the upper level balcony, as well as a major alteration to the home's lower level. "We knocked through into the at-the-time unused part of the sub-structure to create a corridor on the ground floor that now gives the downstairs room access to a substantial bathroom."
To implement the rather radical new design, Phil selected the team at Bay Group Construction to complete all of the building required. Managing director of Bay Group Ltd, Grant Hohaia, credits an excellent working relationship with Phil, and with the architect, as influential in the success of the project. "We are in the business of providing clients with innovative building solutions," says Grant. "Our philosophy is to be leaders, with a vision of excellence in construction. We uphold integrity, quality workmanship and positive customer relationships." This attitude is overtly displayed through this entire house, with beautifully constructed rooms and a superb level of finishing throughout. The house has almost taken on the feel of a boutique resort, with the kitchen facing out to the shimmering pool, and doors opening from the sun-filled master bedroom.
Phil also found Bay Group Ltd to be very creative, always ready to think outside the square. "Grant had the idea of using Rimu wood reclaimed from the original house for the stair treads, as part of the custom-made staircase heading to the upper level. They make a striking visual impact. The other day, a visitor to the house was a lady who'd built her own home on the site in the 1940s, and it turns out that the wood we've used was part of her original ceiling! It's fantastic that we've managed to integrate something with so much history into this contemporary home."
Although the home is classed as a renovation, the builders may as well have constructed an entire new house. The plans were extensive, and most people would be mistaken for believing it to be brand new. At the very beginning, there was a raft of materials required by Bay Group Ltd, starting out with the pre-nail frames and trusses. These were all supplied by Albany Timber ITM, who manufacture frames and trusses from their own prenail plant. They also supplied other assorted building products as they were required, ranging from concrete right through to hardware. Even items that wern't in stock were sourced for the house and made available.
Clever design features were a major part of the new style for the home, giving it a real point of difference compared to other "new" houses. One such design inclusion was the use of aluminum on the home's exterior. From LouvreTec New Zealand Ltd, the 150 Kiss Pivot, hand adjustable louvre panel has an aluminum frame, and is powdercoated to colour Silver Pearl. The louvres were placed on the outside of the first floor bedroom window, and eliminated the need for blinds inside the room. The panel can be adjusted to suit different times of day, letting light filter in or creating a complete privacy screen.
LouvreTec louvres and shutters are 100% New Zealand designed and made. They are frequently an inclusion on many up market, architecturally designed homes.
With the renovation done and the house looking fantastic, Phil is certainly pleased with the transformation. And despite loving everything about the home, he does have one or two favourite parts. "I love the fact that with the balcony doors open, in the master bedroom, you can go to sleep to the sound of waves rolling onto the Takapuna beach. I also really like the downstairs rumpus room - it has such a warm feeling to it."
Written by Soraya Nicholas
Photography by Thomas Law