Life-changing renovation

Before the renovation, the laundry/storage area was under the existing roof but not connected to...
Before the renovation, the laundry/storage area was under the existing roof but not connected to the house.
The back kitchen area was in such bad condition it had to be demolished.
The back kitchen area was in such bad condition it had to be demolished.
The new back wall is clad in corrugated iron (painted Resene Grey Friar).
The new back wall is clad in corrugated iron (painted Resene Grey Friar).
The dining extension opens to the patio. The wall of family photos is painted in Resene Apple...
The dining extension opens to the patio. The wall of family photos is painted in Resene Apple Blossom. The sideboard, a family heirloom, was painted by Mr Oliveira. PHOTOS: PETER MCINTOSH/CARLOS FALCAO/SUR ARCHITECTURE
With the barn door in the hall open, it is possible to see from one end of the house to the other.
With the barn door in the hall open, it is possible to see from one end of the house to the other.
Wardrobes were a must in the bedrooms.
Wardrobes were a must in the bedrooms.
The house was extended towards the west to connect to the patio. The angled external wall makes...
The house was extended towards the west to connect to the patio. The angled external wall makes the dining room feel bigger and allows the afternoon sun to penetrate deeper inside.
The roughcast bungalow was built in the 1930s.
The roughcast bungalow was built in the 1930s.
The bathroom vanity, made of treated ply, was designed by architect Maria Callau.
The bathroom vanity, made of treated ply, was designed by architect Maria Callau.
The owners dubbed their previous kitchen the ‘‘naughty corner’’ because whoever was cooking in it...
The owners dubbed their previous kitchen the ‘‘naughty corner’’ because whoever was cooking in it was cut off from the rest of the living area. Happily, that is no longer the case.
The owners added a new fireplace after finding there was a crack in their old one and that...
The owners added a new fireplace after finding there was a crack in their old one and that repairs would cost as much as a replacement.
A large picture window frames the surrounding farmland and offers a glimpse of Tomahawk Lagoon. A...
A large picture window frames the surrounding farmland and offers a glimpse of Tomahawk Lagoon. A window seat is built in below.

A four-month renovation connected this Dunedin home to ocean views and a sunny garden. Kim Dungey reports.

A modest renovation has paid big dividends for the owners of this Dunedin home.

Roberta Carvalho and Amilcar Oliveira opened up their kitchen and extended their dining area, giving them more light and direct access to their patio. They also added a third bedroom and made the whole house warmer.

However, the floor area increased by only 19sq m to 111sq m.

"The plan was always to do something that meant we would enjoy the house more," explained Mrs Carvalho, "but not make it too big that we couldn’t grow old here."

Amilcar Oliveira and Roberta Carvalho wanted their renovation to deliver open-plan living,...
Amilcar Oliveira and Roberta Carvalho wanted their renovation to deliver open-plan living, another bedroom and a usable outdoor space. He teaches English as a second language and she teaches at the Dunedin College of Education. Photo: Peter McIntosh
She and her husband emigrated to New Zealand from Brazil and bought the house in 2002 when they realised mortgage payments would be less than their rent.

The two-bedroom house was big enough to accommodate their parents who sometimes stayed for a month at a time. But after daughter Bianca was born, visitors from Brazil had to sleep in the lounge or a hotel as the tiny nursery was big enough for only one bed.

Family friend and architect Maria Callau, of SUR Architecture, saw the shortcomings first-hand when they met socially. The living area was dark, a dividing wall closed off the kitchen and the patio could only be accessed by traipsing back outside through the front door. A previous owner had added to the house, so external windows in the bathroom and Bianca’s bedroom had become internal windows facing the kitchen.

Callau said she and partner Juan Puricelli encouraged their many clients who had limited budgets to build quality spaces that were smart, functional and compact.

"You can do a lot of square metres that are wasted and that doesn’t take you anywhere. But if you plan really well, you can create functional spaces using fewer square metres and the right materials to provide an efficient, long-lasting solution that will meet the client’s brief."

About 20sq m were added to the house and the remaining spaces were reorganised. IMAGES: SUR...
About 20sq m were added to the house and the remaining spaces were reorganised. IMAGES: SUR ARCHITECTURE
Investing in high-performance windows and higher levels of insulation reduced energy costs and provided a warm, healthy environment.

One challenge with the Shiel Hill property was that the deck on the south side had great views towards the ocean, but was shaded by the house and rarely used.

As a result, the deck was removed and there is now a large picture window.

Another carefully-placed window in the hall brings in natural light and also frames the view — previously, the couple would open their front door and see the toilet at the end of the hall.

A flexible space that can serve as a second living room, a third bedroom or a study was created in the area previously occupied by Bianca’s bedroom and the laundry.

The dining extension connects through glass doors to the patio and allows afternoon sun to enter the living spaces.

The couple said they exceeded their $160,000 budget by 15%, but only because the 1930s bungalow was in worse shape than they thought — piles had to be replaced, floors sloped away and the back wall was in such bad condition it had to be demolished.

"What Maria and the builder [Brooke Jenkins, of Infinite Building] reminded us was that for $180,000, we were basically building a brand-new house," said Mr Oliveira, adding that their only regret was not being able to afford a second bathroom.

"There are new, double-glazed windows throughout. All the walls are insulated from the inside and we insulated under the floor and in the ceiling. The fireplace is new and we put wardrobes in all the bedrooms."

Taking plenty of time to plan the changes and choosing mid-priced products were key, Mrs Carvalho added.

"Nothing was top-of-the-range, except for the [black kitchen] sink, which was a feature we wanted."

The tile splashback in the kitchen cost just over $100, compared with more than $600 for a glass one. The bathroom vanity was made of treated ply and the basin on top cost just $120. Landscaping was left until later and when they did tackle this, hiring a handyman proved less expensive than employing a builder.

When they did move back in, it was to a home that was more functional and that made the most of the views.

It is also filled with character, thanks to the use of recycled materials and special pieces of china and furniture brought with them from South America. The kitchen bench and the window seat in the dining area are rimu, reclaimed from Christchurch after the earthquake.

While the home’s value has increased three-fold since the renovation, Mrs Carvalho said they did it for them and never thought of selling.

Bianca, who could never host sleepovers, now has friends over on a regular basis.

"We entertain more — and on a beautiful day, we have the doors open ... It changed completely the way we live and sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s the same house."

kim.dungey@odt.co.nz

 

Add a Comment

Local journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Otago Daily Times reporters and photographers continue to bring you the stories that matter. For more than 158 years our journalists have provided readers with local news you can trust. This is more important now than ever.

As advertising drops off during the pandemic, support from our readers is crucial. You can help us continue to bring you news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter