Thursday, 5 January 2017

Kitchen Makeover

We took the 'kitch' out of our kitchen.

We now have an elegant, modern and functional kitchen that works well for us. The old kitchen was not only ugly, it was also stupid. By stupid I mean it had several usability issues that can only come from a house that was renovated to sell. Once again, children: JUST SAY NO TO A RENOVATED-TO-SELL HOUSE.

Key changes we made to rid ourselves of the ugly and the stupid were:

1. Removed cabinets either side of the rangehood and above the fridge, adding open shelving:
  • Reduced the over-supply of cupboards without compromising storage space.
  • Floating shelves open up and modernise the space.
  • Allows us to be creative and add colour and interest.

2. Replaced the drawer fronts and cupboard doors and added handles:
Come on. Milky green glass cabinetry? REALLY? It looked like a hospital. And it turns out, solid glass is heavy (one door recently fell off its hinges). We liked the existing layout and cabinetry so we did a makeover. This involved getting a cabinetmaker to replace the drawer and cupboard facades, update the drawer rollers and cupboard hinges and add handles. Handles... oh how I missed you. What a difference. Everything is so light and easy to open and close. Plus the shaker style is modern but also a little traditional so it complements the villa.

3. Replaced the sink, tap and benchtops:
  • A simple, elegant gooseneck tap is all we need. The previous tap was fussy and ugly.
  • We installed a single stainless steel under-mounted sink. The old white plastic double sink was impossible to clean and not very durable. We went through tubs of baking soda trying to keep it from going grey. Beetroot, curry and tumeric were all banned. No way could you place anything hot in there. And it was slightly raised above the bench so food and crumbs would gather beneath. It was also huge, taking up about a third of the work space. And finally, the idiot who installed it put it in the wrong way around. JUST SAY NO!
  • Nasty plasticky white flecked benchtops from the 1990s have been replaced with handsome black granite, breaking up all that white.
  • We also added a double power point to the kitchen island. This allowed us to put the microwave in a cavity under the bench out of sight and we can now plug appliances in at the main island bench. Now I can whip up batches of prune truffles more easily...

4. Added bookshelves to the kitchen island cavity:
  • An easy way to add a bookshelf.
  • Similar to what we had in our previous home.
  • Adds warmth and texture to the space.
  • Great use of 'dead' space.

We had the most amazing contractors working with us on this project:

DL Cabinetmaking
Dean from DL Cabinetmaking has just been great. As a former Project Manager, one thing I really appreciate is a project plan. Dean provided all costs, schedules and timings really fast for our multi-faceted project. He also kept a pre-Christmas space open for us as we waited on other things to be confirmed before committing. He was open to our ideas, but provided sound professional advice and direction where required. We are so happy with the result and with Dean's approach to his work and clientele. He'll definitely be building our bathroom vanities next year!

Luxury Living Builders
Owner Chris Foley managed a range of contractors for us so the gib-stopping and painting parts of the job got done. Amazingly, his guys were able to carefully extract the top layer of subway tiles off the back wall after Dean had removed the cabinets and then colour-match the mystery white paint!

Sanders Plumbing
Johnny was such a professional, going the extra mile for us - and a hell of a nice guy too.

Granite Benchtop Company
Wiremu and T hauled our massive slabs of granite and set in our sink for us - all with grace and poise! It looks amazing.

Hall Electrical
We've used Hall Electrical for years and they're fantastic. Pat is our regular Electrician and he's the best. A friendly guy who knows what he's doing. We love all the changes Hall Electrical has made to our house since we moved in.

Trinity Interior Design
We needed short bursts of professional help and guidance for a number of projects, including the kitchen. We had used Trinity before for our Roman blinds in both this house and our previous house. Rachel Brown gave us concise and confident advice and worked to a close budget so we knew exactly how much time was being billed. She was always available to advise on the smallest matters.

Befores and Afters

Sit back and enjoy the amazing before and after shots. First up, the kitchen in all its green glory...

And now, the afterglow...


Friday, 23 December 2016

Kitchen and Wardrobes Renovation Update

It's all done! I need some time to sort through the before and after photos and will do a big post in the new year. Off to the South Island for a week, starting in Hanmer Springs with my family, then Paul and I are in Akaroa for three days.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Zara Visit

I, like many others here in New Zealand, have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of our first Zara store which opened at Sylvia Park in Auckland a few weeks ago. A friend and I visited recently. I must say I was impressed. The store is bright and clean and seems to stock the full range of Zara goodies. I had been worried that the company might offer us a half-baked solution but they've come to the party with the full womens, mens and childrens ranges. I picked up a loose-fitting white shirt which I love! So comfortable and versatile. It's lovely to finally have Zara here!

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Christmas Wreath Workshop at Garden Objects

So excited to be attending this workshop at the gorgeous Garden Objects in Kohimarama in a few weeks! I consider myself a non-creative type so this will be a challenge, but fun I am sure! The best thing is I'll be trying something different and meeting new people which I really need to do more of. I will post pictures of my Christmas wreath when it's finished!

And I highly recommend a visit to Garden Objects. It's a beautiful store and each 'object' is carefully curated by Lisa and Jared.

copper watering can haws

small fork

apple holder

bird call | blackbird

companion planting in new zealand by brenda little

gidon bing small ceramic tripod pot | crackled

korbo galvanised basket classic 35

new zealand heritage rare seed collection

paperweight | forget me not | small

wonder weeder

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Master Bedroom Wardrobe Removal

Our master bedroom is huge now that one of our wardrobes has been removed! We have a 12ft stud, so the person who did the renovation thought it would be a great idea to install two 2.8m tall wardrobes almost to the ceiling, thus boxing in the room and providing an overkill of closet space.

Yes, villas are notorious for lack of space but ours is BURSTING with it. Paul and I gave it some thought and realised that we wouldn't be compromising the storage space by removing one wardrobe.

Because I have my own huge dressing room, Paul stores his clothes in our master bedroom. He used only one of the wardrobes for about a month to see if he could do it and he could! And soon we are getting all of the wardrobes in all bedrooms re-fitted with bespoke shelves, poles and cubbyholes so he will have a more efficient space to work with. Oh, and the ugly sliding door will be replaced with double-doors that look like the period of the house, not the ultra-modern doors the previous owner put into a 1910 house... :(

Chris, owner of Luxury Living Builders and his team (Peter, gib-stopper and Mike, painter) got to work earlier this month to remove the wardrobe and they did an incredible job. It's so flawless, you wouldn't even know there had been anything there! I highly recommend them! Mike even colour-matched the wall paint as the previous owners didn't provide accurate information.

The room is much more spacious now and we have the choice of three positions to place our bed (we had one choice before. And there is still one huge double wardrobe so we have not affected re-sale value.

Before and after photos are below. Note that we now have a big hole in the carpet (revealing the most beautiful original matai floorboards - WHY did they have to cover them up?). And in the new year the horrible grey/brown carpet is getting ripped out and replaced with oak to match the rest of the house (that's another blog post - big flooring project happening mid-January 2017!). So this is not the final look for this room, the photos just show the difference removing the wardrobe made.

Upcoming projects: kitchen cabinetry revamp, wardrobe fit-outs and door handle and knob overhaul (yep: goodbye shiny gold door handles!).

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Front Door, Porch and Garage Door

The smallest changes make all the difference we're discovering. Thanks to the fantastic Adrian Parton Painters, we now have a more elegant front door, porch and garage door. The colours we went for were Karen Walker for Resene Fuscous Grey and Resene Black (Gloss).

The front door was white (like the interior and exterior of the house!). We wanted to break things up so went with a bold black. This has really brought out the leadlights. Next project is to remove all of the door hardware and polish it up (or replace where necessary) with shiny brass fixtures so it really pops against the black.

The porch and garage door were painted a depressing, dated blue-grey (like a shark). I wanted a warmer grey. After many test pots (see below!) we settled on a Karen Walker for Resene grey which we think brings back some elegance to the space and looks more modern. Very pleased, and we can't wait to get stuck into the front gardens and gates to tidy them up so our whole frontage looks amazing!

Here is what the porch and front door looked like before:

And here is what a lick of paint can do!


Wednesday, 12 October 2016


I've been following this interesting company for a couple of years. In the past six months Everlane has had some major growth. They pride themselves on direct-to-consumer retail, cutting out much of the middle-man noise, the result being a high-quality product at an amazing price. They also take ethics around materials-sourcing, production and administration very seriously. And all of the staff seem to be around 12 years old (or am I just getting old?).

Everlane started by selling a basic range of cotton tshirts, silk shirts and wool jumpers. They've since branched out into cashmere, shoes, coats and accessories. I haven't seen any of the product in the flesh, but if their marketing is anything to go by, this stuff looks like a winner.

And yes, they do ship to New Zealand.