A refurbishment of a tired Greenlane townhouse creates the perfect easy care home for a busy urban family.
WORDS Jason Burgess PHOTOGRAPHY Caroline Ducobu
Rosalie and Jon’s home is set in a quiet enclave on a leafy avenue. It is hard to imagine a bustling main road just a stone’s throw to the east. On the strength of the chattering bird life in their north-facing garden you might be forgiven for thinking you were sitting in a nearby park.
Their low maintenance brick and cedar townhouse was constructed in the 1990s and had not seen a lick of paint since. “It was pretty ugly,” admits Rosalie. The synthetic blue carpet was badly stained, faded and hard to clean. The kitchen tiles were slippery underfoot, while the grey walls and salmon coloured kitchen-counter spoke of interior design trends in a not so distant pastel-past.
The couple has lived here for just over five years contemplating a renovation of the downstairs living areas. Life though seemed too busy to make a start. “You begin coming up with more reasons not to do it,” says Rosalie. “Especially when it involves moving out of your home with three children under six years old.”
An opportunity for a house renovation
The impetus to modernise was accelerated recently when Rosalie’s parents planned an eight-week overseas holiday. “They said why don’t you stay in our house while the work is happening.” With that the lounge and kitchen were quickly boxed for storage and the family exited as the demolition began.
As renovations go, the makeover was a relatively straightforward affair. Infrastructure changes were minimal; therefore there were no lengthy waits or financial outlays for permits.
In the revamped kitchen the position of the oven and sink were switched and a larger window was fitted above the sink area. New Rylock aluminium joinery was sourced to match the rest of the house. The placement of the larger window in the kitchen provides an ideal observation post for Rosalie to watch the kids playing in the garden while also flooding the interior with light.
They essentially designed their own kitchen layout. Uncluttered, clean lines and neutral tones accentuate the open plan. Added storage and larger work surfaces are the order of the day.
It has given our house a new lease on life. I think we’ll be here for many years now
The kitchen renovation
A new Kalon polished acrylic benchtop runs three-quarters of the way around the kitchen in a C-shape. The lounge-end angles slightly out for extra kitchen floor space and a deeper breakfast bar with room for four stools. The creamy, stone flecked Cheltenham bench surface extends seamlessly towards the patio sliders too, where it doubles as the bottom shelf in a set of open-faced corner wall shelves. A ‘waterfall’ return finishes the bench at the ranch sliders, tying in the counter surface and semi-gloss white lacquer cabinetry. It was decided that a darker counter and breakfast bar would delineate the rooms too much, diminishing the feeling of airiness.
The Kalon benchtop material is easy to clean and can be resurfaced. It was made and fitted by Kurve. “Refresh helped us achieve great design, clean lines and functionality. They came up with brilliant solutions especially when working with incorrectly measured cabinetry.” The latter involved a last-minute reshaping of the bench to match the angled lines of the shelves above.
Kurve also reworked their template around an oversized sink. With children presenting an on-going procession of dishes the Bridges opted for a commercial size, satin-finished stainless Ikon Xenon kitchen bowl and half sink with Insinkerator waste disposer.
A slick yet muscular looking Methven Kiri sink mixer completes the sink area. The tapware is matched in the bathrooms and in the downstairs powder room where they have also added a new slim line Caroma Liano hand basin and a Fowler Newport Cube toilet suite.
Rosalie is especially fond of her new Hettich floor-to-ceiling Cargo IQ pull-out pantry with matt silver rack shelving. The head of the unit swivels for added visibility and quick access to cooking ingredients. Alongside is a fixed half pantry with adjacent appliance bay and microwave garage with inbuilt power sockets. Toasters, blenders and coffee machines will never clutter the counter top again.
A revolving Arena Style base unit in an under bench corner cupboard makes pot storage a pushover. “These Hettich kitchen mechanisms are fantastic,” says Rosalie. The handle-less push to open drawers and cupboards mean no visual distraction or physical obstacles and allow effortless cleaning. The integrated ‘Silent System’ damping ensures whisper soft closing every time. With children in the kitchen, that equates to a lot less racket.
Overhead cupboards span three walls, providing clever storage options in areas that were unused in the previous kitchen. “The old pantry didn’t go up to the ceiling so we had recipe books and things everywhere. Now it’s all hidden away.”
Countersunk Hettich Magic LED downlights illuminate the entire kitchen work area and lounge-side open shelves, from beneath the overhead cupboards. Twin sets of brushed chrome 3 Pan, 12V halogen Zero spotlights from Lighting Plus are strategically placed on the kitchen ceiling for complete coverage. Once the kitchen chores are done though, the downlights are employed to set the mood throughout the ground floor.
Streamlined Italian designed Eisno Lifetech appliances including brushed chrome oven, dishwasher, range hood and an Aristo three-element glass induction cooktop complete the kitchen. “Induction is great,” enthuses Rosalie. “It heats so quickly and the main thing with kids is that it is not hot to touch.”
Hard-wearing and no fuss were the operative words when choosing the flooring. Out with the tiles and the smelly carpet and in with the Smart Plank PVC flooring. Warm to touch and a cinch to clean, the sandy-coloured wood grain finish called Matakana complements the bench tones and the Resene Quarter Joanna wall colour.
Resene Half Wheatfield was chosen for the ceiling throughout. Minka brushed chrome incandescent ‘ceiling button’ lights extend the brushed chrome theme into the living areas.
Thoughts on the home update
The Bridges are smitten with the results. “We love it,” says Rosalie. “It has given our house a new lease on life. I think we’ll be here for many years now.” It’s easy living at its best.
Have a look at our Refresh case study Extending a breezeblock Spanish hacienda styled home.
This case study by Jason Burgess featured in Issue 006 of Renovate Magazine. Renovate Magazine is an easy to use resource providing fresh inspiration and motivation at every turn of the page.
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*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.
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