Bibby Master Extension Project

This blog post has been a long time in the making and, just a warning, it is quite a long post! The building process took a good five months (including a 3 week break by the builders over Christmas), so I took many, many progress photos. I also took a few videos to document the process, so if you haven’t followed along with us on our Instagram stories, go check them out after you’ve read the blog.

It all began back in June 2017 when I contacted Tracey Thompson-Gray, a senior architect at Architecture HDT. With three teenage daughters we were fast out-growing our modest little three bedroom/one bathroom bungalow. Mark and I had spent months searching for a bigger house, but didn’t find anything that ticked all our boxes. We had been spoilt by our current location, where we had lived for 11 years, with it’s corner site, all day sun, views over the Botanical Gardens and out to sea, and close proximity to work, school, family & friends. We finally decided to stay put and to add a master extension onto our existing home, which meant all three girls would finally have their own bedroom, and Mark and I would have our own bathroom - Hallelujah!

The original floor plan, the blue indicates where the extension would go.

The plan for the master extension.

We worked with Tracey and Courtney at Architecture HDT. Our brief was to retain the view out over the Gardens, and I wanted a walk-in wardrobe. We didn’t have a lot of room to play with as the extension took the house right out to our fence and boundary, but the large window and French doors opening onto our deck give the small room a light, airy feeling despite the lack of space. We were very happy with Tracey and Courtney’s plan, which involved stealing a bit of room from our old bedroom for the shower, and losing a small portion of our deck.

A visual by Architecture HDT of how our home would look with the master extension to the left.

Anyone that has built or renovated a home will know how much waiting time is involved before you start actually building. Once the plans were drawn up, submitted to Council, approved, the builder was chosen (after receiving several quotes), it was November 2018 before demo began. The boarded up window (below) was our old bedroom, and the extension would push straight out to the fence in front.

Boys seem to love demolition but it was my least favourite time. Lot of destruction, mess and noise! But it wasn’t long before piles, bearers and floor went down.

The old front door would become the doorway into our new bedroom.

We came home after a weekend in Taupo to find half the house gone!

It starts to get exciting when the framing goes up and you can see rooms start to form.

Our builder, Paul of Bay Carpenters, worked alongside a small team from Davcon, who were brilliant. It was awesome coming home at the end of the day to see what they’d achieved. Once the weatherboards started going on and the doors and windows installed we could see Tracey and Courtney’s drawings coming to life.

After the framing goes up the electrician and plumber get to work. It’s really important to be super organised and have your bathroom fittings and fixtures ahead of time so your plumber knows where everything will go. Also, in our case we were having a hidden toilet cistern, so our builder needed to put the wall studs etc in.

You’ll also need to know what kind of lighting you want and where. We were having wall lights either side of the vanity mirror, so I needed to know the size of my mirror and where my vanity would be so we could get the wiring in the right spot. In the wardrobe I had worked out where I wanted plugs for the iron, hairdryer, electric toothbrush well before the framing went in.

I designed the custom vanity and the walk-in wardrobe and printed out copies for all the tradies.

We made a few small tweaks to the design once it was at the joiners, but this is the basic wardrobe design.

HOT TIP: Let your builder know if you have want any extra dwangs (a horizontal bracing piece used between wall studs or floor joists) put in before the gib goes on. This is so when you’re hanging heavy mirrors or art you know there will be something solid to nail/drill into. We also add dwangs for curtain rod fixings when we want the curtains hung extra high. Take a photo with your measuring tape so you can refer back to it when the walls are up.

We clad the back bedroom wall in HardieGroove™ Lining and wrapped it around to the wardrobe/ensuite entrance. I love the subtle texture it adds and it’s in keeping with other areas of our bungalow home.

Two of my favourite things in the extension can be found in the ensuite. I knew I wanted a built-in shelf in the shower, as opposed to a shower niche. It was only a slight headache for the builder who had to make sure it was strong enough for use without jeopardising the waterproofing and tiles.

The other thing was our decision to install a skylight over the shower. This is a game-changer, as far as I’m concerned, and I will now want to put one in every shower I design. Natural light is an interior designer’s best friend but you don’t necessarily want windows in a shower for obvious privacy reasons.

Another thing we always try to do when designing bathrooms is to position the toilet in a discreet area so it’s not on display as you enter the room. In our ensuite we have a nib wall and the toilet is hidden behind it.

Mark did all the painting himself. My father-n-law, Peter, is a retired painter so Mark has learnt from the best.

Because we were putting carpet in the new bedroom we made the decision to re-carpet the whole house while we were at it with beautiful Cavalier Bremworth wool carpet from Hutchinsons. The old carpet was 10 years old and had lived through our kids’ toddler years - it was time! But, although we knew we wanted to carpet the hall and bedrooms we loved the idea of exposing the beautiful original floorboards in the living areas. It’s the Northern side of the house and the family room has large bi-fold doors meaning it gets a lot of sun and indoor/outdoor foot traffic. The only problem was a square of particle board smack bang in the middle of the two living rooms where an old fireplace had once been.

Luckily for us, Nick from Davcon, is an absolute craftsman! Paul had removed some floorboards from our old bedroom right back at the demo stage in preparation for this. Nick spent two days meticulously laying these boards into that square, staggering them so they merged seamlessly with the existing boards.

Nick did the most amazing job, we can’t see where the square of particle board used to be. Both rooms have large rugs in them so the only exposed part of flooring is where he worked.

I’ll take you through a few ‘before & afters’ now so you can see the finished extension, and give a few ‘shout outs’ to those who helped us.

Bedding is from Foxtrot Home, Citta Design, and French Country. The art is by Andrew O’Brien.

The headboard is from Bibby + Brady; the lights are from Monmouth Glass Studio; I imported the bone inlay furniture several years ago; the seascape painting was found on TradeMe and I re-framed it.

I designed the bookshelf at the entrance of our room and Sydaz joiners made it for me. The handles are from Archant.

The wardrobe was also designed by me and built by Sydaz joinery.

Vanity designed by me, made by Sydaz; handles from Archant; sink and tap ware from The Kitchen Hub; sink originally from Nood Co; Caesarstone bench top; splash back tile from Tile Depot.

The gorgeous navy hex tiles are from Tile Depot, as are the large marble tiles I used on the shower shelf and vanity splash back; antique brass shower fixtures are from The Kitchen Hub; vanity lights from The Clever Design Store.

The Catherine Martin by Mokum wallpaper is from James Dunlop, expertly hung by Claire Condon.

This extension has made a massive difference to our family and how we live. We don’t have a huge house, but now, it’s just right. Everyone has their own space and two bathrooms between the five of us is so much better than one. Thank you so much to everyone who has been a part of this project. Phase two will be the deck outside our bedroom, so watch out for that mini makeover come Summer time.

Cafe Tennyson + Bistro | Before & After

September last year we received a short email requesting our help to refurbish a café. The email was from Julien and Sophie Debord, a French couple who had recently bought the well-known Napier café, Ujazi. When we met with them, their brief was to makeover the café, creating a warm and welcoming space and combine Napier’s Art Deco style with a hint of French tradition.

While we began work on the design concept, we put Julien and Sophie in touch with our clever friend, Kate Merrifield Mason, of Ripe Design. Kate designed the logo and the beautiful menus for Café Tennyson + Bistro. Much discussion was had about whether to keep the Ujazi name, which was so well known in Napier, or begin this new journey with a fresh name. In the end the latter was chosen. Located on Tennyson Street, we all loved the name Tennyson. It felt quite “Gatsby” which fitted the Art Deco vibe we were going for. Our first design concept was to give an overall look to see if our vision married up with Julien and Sophie’s.

We then put a second design together with more specific pieces and finishes for the café.

With the designs approved, the next step was to implement them. With the shortest time frame we’ve ever had to work to - Sophie and Julien had given their staff two weeks holiday while the café was closed for refurbishment - we knew we had to work with a professional company with a full team of trades available to them. Your Solutions were absolutely brilliant taking our designs and making them a reality in twelve days! Yes, twelve long days to transform the café. We will be forever grateful that they made that happen.

Previously the café was painted a myriad of bright colours - orange, lime green, purple… To create that Art Deco vibe and to draw people in, we chose a stunning wallpaper called Hollywood Palm in rose gold. We teamed that with glass sphere pendants and green velvet booth seats.

Although the street front tables were often full, we noticed that people didn’t tend to sit indoors. As well as the colours we decided to change the layout inside to give it a better flow. Julien and Sophie, having owned a bar in France, knew exactly where they wanted their new counters.

A wall was removed to allow space for the pâtisserie counter. As head chef Sophie knew she wanted to fill this with French pâtisserie, salads and savoury treats.

We designed both the pâtisserie and barista counter and then handed it over to the clever joiners at Your Solutions to create. We chose a gorgeous subway tile in deep green and white with a handmade effect to emulate those French bistros that had been around for many years.

The barista counter was designed in reverse with deep green tiles and a stripe of white. It’s located straight in front of the entrance, at the end of the original counter.

installation day - looking good!

I always love a mezzanine floor, but the original upstairs area didn’t get a lot of customers. Our original design featured the Hollywood Palm wallpaper in gold and black for a moodier vibe, but to stay within budget we had to loose it. Instead we added panelling to the bottom of the wall to create an architectural feature.

Your Solutions made the panelling that we designed. We loved visiting their workshop to see it laid out on the floor, and then following the progress of it being installed and painted. It added that interest to the stairwell leading you up. We chose a glossy black for the panelling and a gorgeous pinky brown for the wall above.

The mezzanine floor is now my favourite space in the café. The gold velvet booth seats, black bistro chairs and walnut tabletops give the upstairs area a different identity whilst still feeling cohesive with downstairs.

Looking down into the main café is quite different now…

The original bathroom was quite something in the brightest Fanta orange. We gave this area its own makeover, repeating the panelling we used on the stairs and topping with another beautiful wallpaper, installed by our mate Claire Condon. A new vanity with gold tap and pretty mirror completed the look.

A lot has changed in this little café and not just the decor. As well as the treats available in the pâtisserie, you would be wise to take a seat and check out the menu. There are delicious breakfast and lunch options, and you can enjoy a glass of wine or a beer with lunch.

Sophie and Julien have more exciting ideas to introduce to Café Tennyson + Bistro, so make sure, if you’re in Napier, to pay them a visit.

Favourite Space | Marilyn Perko

It’s time for another of our ‘Favourite Space’ blog posts. We get to meet so many fabulous and talented people in our job, and when we see an interior that is really special and a true reflection of its owner, we just want to share it with you. Marilyn is a client of ours and was kind enough to allow us to photograph her home and share a bit of her journey with us.

Marilyn in her living room, which for some time during the renovation was her bedroom | photo: Florence Charvin

Before we get to Marilyn’s story though, I wanted to tell you a bit about our relationship with her. The way we worked with her is not our usual process. Normally, with a renovation like hers we are a lot more hands-on, but we quickly learnt how capable Marilyn was with managing her own renovation. A long-term Piha resident, upon arriving in Hawke’s Bay she came to us for advice on colours and fabrics, and we helped her choose, make and install all of her curtains and wooden shutters; we purchased her wallpaper for her bedroom study, bedlinen, and a lot of fabric for countless beautiful cushions and squabs we had custom made. We worked with Marilyn on an hourly rate for design advice and whenever something arose that she needed a second opinion on, she’d pop in to see us. We have the utmost admiration for how she handled her renovation (which we know can be a stressful experience) and for the beautiful home that she has created for herself. Marilyn, you’re a star, and now over to you…

We supplied fabric for curtains, window squab, cushions & furniture | photo: Florence Charvin

About your renovation:

B+B: How long did you live in Piha, and what made you choose Napier to relocate?

I lived in Piha for 21 years, it was my retreat from the world of work. I decided to retire in 2017 and I knew it was time for a move, much as I loved Piha I wanted to be closer to amenities, theatres, galleries. I initially looked at inner city properties but the escalating real estate prices in Auckland put that out of reach and I wasn’t quite ready for apartment life. So I set about looking out of Auckland, my check list was to be near the sea, walking distance to shops, not too far from an airport and room for visiting friends and family. North of Auckland was a contender and no further South than Hawke’s Bay or New Plymouth.

A beautiful side table spied by Marilyn and sourced by Bibby + Brady | photo: Florence Charvin

B+B: Did it take you long to find your Napier home?

I spent some time checking out a number of areas but I was drawn to Hawke’s Bay. I narrowed my search to Napier and, as I hadn’t been there for some time, I flew down one weekend just to look around. Or so I thought - I ended up putting in an offer on a 1920’s bungalow on the hill, and that was the end of my search! I have renovated several times and I knew this property needed serious work but I feel in love with the view, I could hear the sound of the waves, it was close to Napier City and less than 10 minutes to the airport. All my boxes ticked! Something I didn’t expect living so close to the city was the bird life; Tuis, Bellbirds and Kereru.

Marilyn’s living room with views over Napier and out to Cape Kidnappers | photo: Florence Charvin

B+B: What is your favourite space in the house, now that it’s all finished?

It has to be my bedroom area with ensuite, walk in wardrobe, study nook and view of sea and city. I just love the wallpaper, an indulgent Designer Guild feature wall in the study nook, expertly papered by Claire Condon.

We had beautiful wooden shutters installed in Marilyn’s bedroom | photo: Florence Charvin

B+B: What were the highlights and lowlights of your renovation?

The completed renovation took 10 months and with old houses there are always surprises (and there were a few), but I was fortunate to have a wonderful builder, "Wayne Reid Builders", and a band of exceptional tradies. An Auckland friend put me in contact with his friends in Napier who had recently completed renovations and they passed on all their contacts. The difficult part for me was living around the renovation, moving from room to room, no laundry or kitchen, inadequate heating…...I’ve been down this path before but it does get more challenging with age, however I am thrilled with the end result. A big thank you to Dael and Vic who have been there to give advice on colours and furnishings, and for their never ending enthusiasm for my project.

We sourced the Designers Guild wallpaper from our friends at Icon Textiles | photo: Florence Charvin

B+B: Do you have any advice for others undergoing their own renovation?

Take your time to find a builder, someone who sees your vision, and if you require Council consents/plans include your builder at the planning stage if you can. You must be well organised, living on site was an advantage as often quick decisions need to be made, but most importantly keep a detailed account of what you are spending.

Beautiful linen curtains over French doors seperate the inside & outside dining areas | photo: Florence Charvin

Getting to know you better:

B+B: What’s your favourite time of day?

Dusk, the fading light as the sun disappears and the city lights begin to twinkle. A time for quiet contemplation and a glass of wine.

B+B: Who or what inspires you?

I’m inspired by the generosity and kindness of those who give to their communities. The hours and hours of voluntary time caring for the young, our precious environment, the disabled and elderly.

Marilyn’s love of art is evident in her kitchen and dining area | photo: Florence Charvin

B+B: What are you reading/listening to right now?

One of the first things I did when I moved to Napier was to find a book club, at the moment we are reading “The Forest of Wool and Steel” written by Japanese writer Natsu Miyashita. I’ve just finished reading “Drive your Plow over the Bones of the Dead” - hard to pin point the genre but described as ‘a meditation on human compassion and a murder mystery’. With the longer nights I enjoy listening to my Jazz collection.

Marilyn brought these tiles into us for our approval. We love them, of course | photo: Florence Charvin

B+B: Sweet or savoury?

Definitely savoury.

B+B: Favourite drink?

Depending on the occasion - Celebrate with Champagne, Martinborough Pinot Noir and a single malt by the fire.

The dining table is one of our favourites in recycled oak | photo: Florence Charvin

B+B: Favourite thing you own?

My painting by Dean Buchanan is a favourite and I have it in my lounge, I never tire of looking at it. Dean lives in Karekare just over the hill from Piha, the painting is of Cathedral Cave at Mercer Bay. I bought it from Dean’s studio in Karekare and he told me how he would climb down to the cave to get mussels.

The painting by Dean Buchanan is very special to Marilyn and reflects colours found in the living room | photo: Florence Charvin

B+B: Do you have any future plans for your home?

Scaffolding and building clutter took its toll on the garden, so I've been busy outside. I’m looking forward to Spring! I'm also toying with the idea of developing a studio/bedsit under the house.

Accents of black in the dining room add a touch of depth | photo: Florence Charvin

Thank you so much Marilyn for letting us be a part of your renovation story, for allowing us to share your home with our readers, and for the celebratory champagne on the deck ;)