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 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.

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

Introducing SAI

Dael and I are very proud to introduce you to our latest project, SAI, (lower) 205 Emerson Street, Napier. The project took a good eight or nine months and was quite a journey, so we were thrilled when the doors finally opened to the public two weeks ago. Some of you may have been following the progress on our Instagram page, but now we're pleased to share it with you officially.

photo: Florence Charvin

In March of this year we received an email from Sasi (our future client) saying she was visiting from Sydney, was opening a restaurant in Napier, and would we like to meet to discuss it. "Of course," we said - that sounded like a fun job. We met Sasi on site soon after and suddenly realised what a huge task we had ahead of us.

The site for the restaurant was the old Mid City Plaza and it was being split into three tenancies along Emerson Street. It really was just a crumbling shell with loads of potential, and a lot of work to be done. This was our first big commercial project, so we were very fortunate that architect Robin Larkworthy, of Dougan Larkworthy, agreed to help us with all of the plans and working drawings, and GR8 Construction took on the build.

Our client, Sasi (below far right) already owns and runs the sister restaurant, 'SAI Old Bar Beach' in Sydney, and soon after our first meeting she flew back to Australia. Over the next few months Dael and I liaised with Sasi via email, designed the look and feel of the restaurant, and came up with various floor layouts (keeping in mind that neither of us had any experience with a commercial kitchen and what that entailed). With the expert help of Josh from Southern Hospitality, Isaac from Sydaz, Hamish Panton from Panton Consulting, and Robin Larkworthy and his team, plans were eventually sent to Council, and then it was a waiting game. In August Sasi returned to New Zealand with her niece, Wan, (below centre) who was to help Sasi with the restaurant, and eventually run it when it came time for Sasi to return home. The four of us worked closely together, and Dael and I are so thankful to both Sasi and Wan that they believed in us and allowed us to follow through with our designs.

Opening day was 8th December, and everybody involved in helping us create SAI worked extremely hard to make opening on that date happen. As well as all the tradies, Sasi and Wan's family flew in to help and it really was 'all hands on deck'.

We enlisted the help of our favourite painter and wallpaper hanger, Claire Condon, and her friend, Chris Heath, to create the fresco wall effect, and to hang the beautiful Elitis wallpaper. Asha and Marg from Little & Fox made the squabs and cushions; and Hutchinson's laid the floor for us.

Staff get ready for the very first guests (below) - everyone involved in helping to create SAI was invited to come and sample the delicious Thai food. The tiles, from The Tile Depot, around the open kitchen and behind the bar are one of my favourite features.

The food at SAI is authentic Thai food, and the staff are there to guide you, if you'd like, and answer any questions. They encourage customers to place meals in the centre of the table so you can share and taste all of the dishes.

My most favourite part of the restaurant is the beautiful bar which greets you as you enter. It was created by the amazing team at Sunshine Joinery, along with the cabinetry behind the bar, all of the bench and booth seats, the open kitchen bench top, and all of the shelving. We can't thank Rick, Ben, Felicity and their team enough.

The curved bar is created with strips of bamboo that bring gorgeous texture and warmth, and contrast beautifully with the deep teal featured throughout the restaurant.

When Sasi first briefed us on what she wanted for the restaurant, she told us her favourite colours were brown and grey. To say that Dael & I love colour is an understatement, so how were we going to make this work?! The tile, with it's earthy shades of brown, blue and grey was our starting point, and this led to the introduction of the deep teal colour. Lastly we brought in the rich raspberry red in the wallpaper and velvet sofa to balance the coolness of the blue and grey tones. Sasi was so great allowing us to do this, as we knew we were pushing her outside of her comfort zone. But luckily for us she embraced the colours and now loves them.

Thanks to the talented Laura Jeffares for the floral displays, and Rowan from Branded for all our signage.

All of the beautiful plates, bowls and cups are hand made in Thailand especially for SAI and are available to purchase. Look for the displays at the front of the restaurant and talk to staff if you're interested in purchasing anything.

It's so rewarding to see SAI fill up with people, the buzz of activity as staff ferry plates to customers, and the chefs busy in the kitchen. So much thought went into each part of the restaurant, and each phase, and we're extremely grateful to everyone who helped turn our design into a reality.

Although we thank Sasi for giving us so much freedom with our design, it was her initial brief and inspiration that shaped SAI. We took her brief and moulded it into the restaurant it is today. We may have pushed a few boundaries along the way, but Sasi was so open to our ideas, she was a joy to work with. I have been lucky enough to dine here a couple of times now, and I can tell you, wholeheartedly, that the food is amazing. There's no question where the Bibby + Brady Christmas party is being held this year!

We will miss Sasi as she heads back to Australia (today), but she's handing the torch onto Wan, and we have no doubt she will do a great job at running SAI.

A SAI website is in the making, but in the meantime have a look at this delicious menu. Bookings can be made on 06 835 3959, open 11am til late, dine in or take away. If you visit, make sure to tell them we sent you.

The lovely photographer herself, Florence Charvin.