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.

Beachside Apartment | Before & Afters

Last year we undertook a renovation project for lovely clients who had bought a beachside apartment, badly in need of a freshen up. The apartment was to be their home-away-from-home when they were in Napier, so they wanted it to be comfortable and low maintenance, but also smart and sophisticated.

We updated the entire base layer of the apartment - new tiles, new carpet, new paint colour throughout, and new window treatments - as well as sourcing and purchasing a range of new furniture.

In the entrance we added wallpaper and powder coated the stair balustrade matt black for a sharper, more contemporary look. White wooden shutters half way up replaced the old venetian blinds, letting light and the view in whilst still allowing our clients privacy. The clean lines of the new console compliments everything around it.

The first thing you see once you reach the top of the stairs is the kitchen which sits between the living and dining spaces in the large open plan room. The original kitchen was quite dated, painted in a marine blue and featuring a curved island with a pole right through the centre of the bench.

The first thing we did was to meet with our builder, Paul Davidson of Bay Carpenters, and get an engineer in to see if we could remove the pole. as it was going to seriously compromise whatever we designed for the new kitchen. We were so happy (that’s an understatement) when we were told it could be done. It required a steel beam added in the ceiling which we had drawn up and submitted to council by our friend, Andrew Mitchener of Mitchener Architecture & Design.

Our joiners, Sydaz, built the new kitchen for us. We kept the lines clean and contemporary and used a simple but striking material and colour palette. The granite bench top continued up the wall as the splash back behind the cooktop. We carried the floor tiles out beyond the island in both directions to define the kitchen area.

How good does that look without the pole running through the centre?!

With a neutral coloured carpet replacing the old blue carpet, we then used one of our favourite Armadillo&Co rugs to ground the new dining table and zone the dining area. A mirror on the back wall replaced the artwork to reflect the stunning ocean view.

We removed the low nib wall between the dining area and the area under the window, at the top of the stairs, to create a sense of airiness and space.

The built-in desk was removed and we had a sofa custom made for the nook - the perfect spot to tuck yourself away with a good book. Lastly we replaced the roman blind with the same wood shutters we installed in the stairway.

When you have an open plan living space it’s important to have a consistent colour palette for a sense of calm and cohesiveness. The black dining table relates to the black oak kitchen cabinetry; the smokey table top echoes the pendant lights; we kept the soft furnishing light and neutral and added accents of golden mustard.

The bathroom required a total overhaul. We ripped everything out and started again with a new layout. Where the shower was previously we installed a custom made vanity, designed by us and made by Sydaz.

We chose to tile the entire bathroom, floor to ceiling, in the same tiles for a clean, contemporary feel. The neutral coloured tiles, that feature a lovely subtle texture, are also used on the floor in the entrance and kitchen to continue that sense of cohesiveness. The vanity features the same wood we used in the kitchen island, and the same granite on the bench top. Accents of black look smart and add a touch of depth to the space.

The decision was made to remove the small bathtub (there is a bath in a downstairs bathroom), and we opted instead for a large walk-in shower. We worked with our friend, Hayden Borrie, who custom made the black steel shower frame for us. Because the bathroom style is so clean and simple, everything had to be just right and the black shower frame added the weight and the ‘wow’ that we felt was needed in that corner.

Thank you so much to our lovely clients for allowing us to share their home with you all. If you have a renovation or new build project in your near future, why not get in touch with us to see if we could be of help to you.

Favourite Space | Hayden Borrie

We’re starting 2019 with one of our “Favourite Space” blog posts, where we introduce you to another one of our clever and creative friends, and show you the space they most love to hang out in. Last year we had a meeting with Hayden Borrie after several people suggested we should meet. And they were so right… you see, Hayden is this super talented guy with an engineering and design background, and he was busy developing a range of beautiful products suitable for both residential and commercial environments. It wasn’t long after our first meeting that we employed his services to help us create a stunning black steel shower frame for a client of ours (we hope to have photos of this soon for our portfolio). Since then we’ve worked on other projects with Hayden and look forward to many more.

For this shoot Dael and I headed out to Hayden’s home with our photographer Florence in tow to photograph his family room. Hayden shares his home in the Esk Hills with his wife, Megan and their two children Roman, 6 yrs, and Fern, 3 yrs. Hayden and Megan bought the section after returning from London, and proceeded to do a huge amount of work on it themselves. They hired architect, Andrew Young, and local construction firm, Robinson Built, but also had a lot of input into the design process. Megan managed the project and all the tradies, and the couple designed the kitchen, installing the island bench themselves, as well as tackling all of the painting and landscaping.

Hayden’s range of self-designed shelving and storage is called smpl. - born out of the desire to create a shelving system for his own home. Longevity was an important factor so they are built to last with powdercoated steel frames and shelves; and wanting a sense of cohesiveness throughout his home, the range also includes bathroom accessories.

Not restricted to residential, the smpl. range is great for commercial settings as well. Hayden designed and installed the shelving at our favourite local coffee establishment, Crazy Good (see below).

Right Hayden, time for a few questions so we can get to know you a bit better…

B+B - What is your favourite space?

HB - It’s what we call our 'family' room, but it’s really just all one big space including the family room, kitchen, dining and lounge.

What do you love most about your space?

The 'openness' of the view out to the north west, while being hunkered into the hill to the east; and it feels like the heart of the house.

What do you love about what you’ve created for Crazy Good?

Modularity and 'the system' (you'll probably hear me say that a lot). It's going to need a bit of customer learning, but the system in CG would equally be at home in a commercial environment or residential housing.

What’s your favourite time if the day?

Late evening. That's when the gears start turning, and can easily go into the wee smalls :) No distractions (I love my family, really), and you can just get on with it.

Who or what inspires you?

Simplifying unnecessarily complicated products and processes. I’m not a big fan of superfluous details, rather I prefer basic 'functional aesthetics'. I love modularity and re-use of components through a design. 

George Nelson would be one of my main influences. He's one of the originators of American Modernism, and I love the simplicity in his products, particularly during his time at Herman Miller. Yes, he may have taken credit for a few too many designs of others (!), but there's no doubt he pushed design into places it hadn't been before.

What are you reading/listening to?

I’ve been listening to 'The Roots' lately for designing, and 'Royal Blood' for hard work! Reading even for fun is usually pretty technical. :)

Sweet or savoury?

Definitely savoury!

Favourite drink?

Pour-over Chemex coffee, black.

Favourite item you own?

My Chemex pour-over 6 cup. I like the precise process of it, and that it’s the same every single time.

What are your goals for 2019?

To develop my smpl. product range further, and to continue to provide 'fresh' solutions for custom interiors (mainly from a manufacturing perspective)

Oh and do more mountain biking and fishing!

Thank you so much Hayden for allowing us into your home. To all our readers, make sure you go and check out Hayden’s website to learn more about his smpl. range, and follow him on Instagram and Facebook to keep up with all his new work and product design.