You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
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."
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."
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."
"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."