Napier Hill Home Renovation

We’ve recently finished working with a fabulous client, helping her renovate her home on Napier Hill. Rachael had moved to Hawke’s Bay from Wellington with her two young children and bought a beautiful old character home. It had great bones and stunning views over the hill and out to sea, but the layout wasn’t quite right and the interiors were a bit tired. After working with Citrus Studio Architecture on the plan, Rachael hired local firm Davcon Construction to complete the renovation. It was Davcon director, Julian Davis, who recommended Rachael talk to us about her kitchen design. Jules knew we’d be able to guide her through all the tricky decisions regarding colours, bench tops, cabinet style, handles etc.

The old kitchen was completely removed and this space (above) has now been turned into a media room for games and movie watching. Walls came down and moved to create a much better flow and layout throughout the house, and the kitchen moved over into the old dining room.

After putting the design concept together for Rachael’s kitchen, we worked closely with our joiners, Sydaz, to bring the design to a reality. We’ve developed a great working relationship with the Sydaz team, so it was a really fun project to work on. Both Davcon and Sydaz have exceptional workmanship, it was amazing to watch both teams help bring our design to life.

Our initial idea was to have a beautiful soft sage green on the bottom cabinets, but to achieve this look with the cabinets painted in a two pot polyurethane was a slightly more expensive option. In the end we opted for a more cost-effective thermoform finish in textured limestone, which is essentially a soft white. We then put a beautiful light grey with a hint of green on the walls to bring in some tone while still keeping the space calm, light and airy.

We’re all in love with the bench top we chose. It’s an engineered stone with a textured matt finish. It features a white background with velvety grey swirls and smaller specks of dark grey. Dael took Rachael out to the Archant warehouse in Hastings where they could view the actual slab of stone. This enables our clients a much better idea of how their bench will look, although we always start by showing them a small sample square. Carrying the stone up the wall as an up-stand was the finishing touch - we love it.

You can see from the progress shot (below) that we put a pull-out pantry and integrated fridge along the wall to the right of the main kitchen. There was nothing we can do with that wall in-between, as behind that is the powder room. Positioning the kitchen island long ways helped to connect everything…

But what really succeeded to connect and ‘zone’ the kitchen area was the wall panelling we asked Davcon to create. It absolutely worked with the style of the home, and wrapping it along the wall between the two pantries, and over on the opposite wall, clearly marked the kitchen area from the adjoining dining area.

The media room, where the old kitchen used to be, is off the kitchen, and we love the sneaky peek of the deep blue walls against the soft grey/green walls in front.

media room re-gibbed and ready for it’s transformation.

loving it’s smart new colour scheme.

The entrance, kitchen and dining room have had new flooring put down. Rachael came home from Hutchinsons with a selection she had chosen and we helped her narrow it down to these boards, which look fantastic. These were the sorts of questions we helped Rachael tackle throughout the reno, another was which way to lay the boards. We would usually recommend running the wood from the front door straight to the back of the house, but the front door sits at the side of the house (to the left of the dining room entrance above). So, although the boards run across the entrance, they then lead your eye down to the beautiful big doors and view at the back of the house.

Rachael already had her dining table, chairs and rug. We sourced the pendant lighting for the kitchen and dining room, helped with art placement, and the colour to paint the fireplace. We sourced the kitchen handles from Archant and the chopping board, bowls and jugs are all ours.

The narrow double doors in the living room (above) were removed and an opening was made on the other side of the fireplace for easier access from the front door and kitchen through to the rest of the house. Large sliding doors were put in (below) to take advantage of the view and the light.

With new carpet and freshly painted walls, Rachael just asked us to help her choose a new sofa, coffee table, side table, and pendant light. We had this sofa custom made for her by one of our NZ furniture manufacturers. They’re made in New Zealand, and the quality and workmanship is superb, so it will last her a long, long time. To keep the cost down slightly, we chose a hardwearing but more cost-effective fabric in a gorgeous deep teal. The large coffee table is the perfect scale for the sofa, and the double layer is handy - you can pop baskets for storage on the bottom layer, or spare cushions. We also had new curtains made in a beautiful soft grey linen blend.

Rachael’s bedroom has these lovely character features, but we helped give it a mini makeover with a new wall colour, new curtains, and a new window seat squab.

The wall colour almost glows it’s so warm and gorgeous. It’s a dusty umber and ashen red toned neutral. OK, it’s pink, but it’s such a sophisticated colour that feels serene and restful in the master bedroom. The linen hydrangea cushions (below) we had custom made - all available to purchase from us.

Directly opposite the master bedroom is the tiny powder room. With no natural light this space would’ve looked flat if we painted it white, so we chose another soft, pretty colour.

The family bathroom was created from scratch in the old entrance area. A large space, we created wall-to-wall storage down one end to house the laundry as well as an extra cupboard for the mop, broom etc. I say “we created it”, but clearly Davcon did all the hard work…

And then Sydaz did a fantastic job creating all of the cabinetry. We chose the tiles from Tile Space, and used HardieGroove™ on the walls to add subtle texture.

The children’s bedrooms also only required mini makeovers. In Rachael’s son’s room it was choosing a colour that he would love, and also one that would grow with him into his teens. Also a cool new window squab so he could enjoy his epic view - lucky kid - and new bedding!

In Rachael’s daughter’s room we opted for a warm, happy colour scheme to add a bit of fun and interest. We kept the colour to the bottom half of the walls, and mixed it up with some different coloured bedding.

And here she is… Rachael was one of our most favourite clients and a joy to work with. We were so impressed with the way she managed a massive renovation with two young children, whilst holding down a very important, full-time job. No matter how smoothly everything goes, renovations are often still stressful, just because of the disruption they cause to your life. But this one was well worth it! The other reason we love Rachael is that she listened to us, trusted us, and followed through with everything we suggested. This is always the best outcome, so thanks Rach, and thank you for allowing us to share your beautiful home. x

The block is over | Girls vs Boys

The Block NZ is a wrap for another season. There was much excitement in our household last night as we watched the live auction. Before I get to that though, let's have a quick look at the very last room reveal for the season. Just when the teams thought they had finished renovating, Mark announced one last challenge - House 5. The house was divided up and spaces were allocated to the teams. As the winners, Sam and Emmett had the enviable task of choosing the auction order.

Sam and Emmett - Bedroom + Ensuite: 1st place - 18.5 points (9.5 points from Fiona and 9 points from Paul)

The judges obviously loved the boy's master bedroom and ensuite. It was certainly a far cry from their very first bedroom in week 1. There was a subtle sophistication with a slight masculine edge.

Niki and Tiff - Kitchen, Dining + Guest Bedroom: 2nd place - 16.5 points (8.5 points from Fiona and 8 points from Paul)

I really liked seeing the girls present a different style to their Block house. The kitchen and dining had a modern retro feel. I love the black subways laid vertically, and the chairs were cool, albeit the table a bit too small for the space.

The guest bedroom was beautiful and very feminine. Those pendant lights are gorgeous, and the colour palette is simple and pretty, inspired by the artwork.

Dyls and Dylz - Main Bathroom, Garage + Laundry: 3rd place - 15.5 points (7.5 points from Fiona and 8 points from Paul)

I don't understand why D+D decided to copy N+T's tribal style in this bathroom. It was similar to the girls' style but not as good (in my opinion).

Their garage and laundry was similar to their own Block house, so it was good, but a bit lazy from a design aspect, I thought. This house was a chance to embrace a different look.

Emma and Courtney - Living Room, Entrance + Stairs: last place - 15 points (7 points from Fiona and 8 points from Paul)

I loved seeing some colour in the girls' living room. The blue of the sofa is gorgeous and works really well with the tan leather chair.

I recognise that console table in the entrance from E+C's Block house, so, once again, it was a shame they didn't try something new. The fact that the teams managed to complete this house in one week though is pretty incredible.

Choosing to have their Block house auctioned last, well and truly paid off for Sam and Emmett. Their profit of $380,000 over the reserve price (the largest profit in The Block NZ history) crowned them the winners of The Block Girls vs Boys. As the winners they received an extra $100,000 bringing their total to $480,000 - amazing!

Emma and Courtney came second with an impressive $300,000 over reserve to split between themselves. Dyls and Dylz gained $151,000 over reserve, and also walked away with a brand new Honda HR-V Sport for being voted The People's Choice. Although last, Niki and Tiff still won $150,000 from the sale of their house, so a hugely successful way to finish this season. Catch up on all The Block news and many more photos on the TV3 website, where they're already looking for 2017 Block applicants - will it be you?

The Block Garage + Laundry | Girls vs Boys

The Block houses are nearly complete. The last week was spent on the garage and laundry, as well as fixing and finishing any last details throughout the house. It was another action packed week with loved ones visiting; a mysterious leak at Emma and Courtney's house; challenges that involved helping the community; and another altercation between Big Dyls and Peter Wolfkamp over the use of power tools after 6pm. All that on top of very little sleep and budget troubles, it's exhausting just watching! E+C took out their second win in a row, so their money worries are looking a little brighter.

Emma and Courtney: 1st place - 16.5 points (8 from Fiona and 8.5 from Paul)

High scores for spaces that are more about function than style, but the girls made some great choices. Their carpet is a practical grey that should hide many sins, and the teak cabinetry around the laundry warms the space and adds a bit more interest. A peg board tool wall and a pull-out work bench are handy and clever additions.

The laundry is practical and tidy with plenty of bench space and storage, and I like the subtle tiles which add a bit of texture. As much as we may not want to, we have to spend a fair bit of time in the laundry, especially if you have kids, so you want the space to be nice as well as functional.

Dyls and Dylz: 2nd place - 15 points (8 from Fiona and 7 from Paul)

With polished concrete floors and ply lined walls, the boys' garage is minimal but pretty cool. I like that mix of materials, and again it will be really practical and easy to keep clean.

Their clever addition is a set of pull-down stairs up to an attic space, which provides valuable additional storage.

The laundry set up is simple but practical. The black light switches are a nice touch.

Sam and Emmett: 3rd place - 14.5 points (7 from Fiona and 7.5 from Paul)

I really like Sam and Emmet's spaces, and I think it must've only been their finishes that let them down. They have a couple of extra rooms, which is great for re-sale but just more work for the boys to complete. They also used ply on some of their walls and I like the way they've finished it with the simple skirts and trims.

The Bosch tool wall won in a previous challenge is a massive plus for the future owners, and the bulk head with built-in speakers in very cool too. The boys had a "-1" to play but decided, after hearing the initial comments about their space, that they would hold on to it. This turned out to be a wise decision as it wouldn't have helped them win.

Sam and Emmett are the only ones with a seperate laundry, and it's a great space with fully tiled walls and large bench space for folding washing or laying out woollens to dry. The black and white links back to their kitchen.

Niki and Tiff: last place - 12.5 points (6 from Fiona and 6.5 from Paul)

It's not often we see Niki and Tiff at the bottom of the points ladder unless part of a strategic move. Their laundry space was their typical style with some beautiful tile choices. I love these along with the painted brick and panelled sliding door.

A wine fridge and a smaller fridge in the garage will come in handy, I'm sure, but I knew the jet black carpet in the garage was a mistake as soon as I saw them choose it. It looks smart for about 10 seconds and then "everything" will show up on it. I made the mistake of putting really dark carpet down once and never again - it was a nightmare. I know this is just a garage and not a living space, but because of that it's likely to get twice as dirty.

As usual the girls' styling and attention to detail is fantastic. I love the black sink and tap with the crisp white bench and dark blue tiles, along with the styling touches. Unfortunately, one of the reasons for their low scores were some untidy finishes, so there will be a lot for all of the teams to finish up this week in time for their open homes.

It's hard to believe the houses are nearly finished, it still amazes me at the rate these homes are turned around in. This week is outdoor week, and judging by the state of the mud around, it'll be an interesting one. I don't envy them! Catch up on all the news on TV3.