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A farmhouse brought back to life

A dark, outdated farmhouse on the outskirts of Katikati has undergone a modern transformation that’s left it almost unrecognisable, while improving the lifestyle of those who live within.

The 1970/80s-decorated, four-bedroom home has retained its charming farmhouse character, but key areas have been stripped back, modernised and brightened to create a light, airy and relaxed haven.

Refresh Renovations Bay of Plenty franchisee owner Cameron Ironside brought the house back to life, following his clients’ brief to update the property whilst retaining its farmhouse feel.

“It had been stuck in a dated 1970s to 1980s style,” says Cameron, “so it was about trying to keep that balance of having the character of the farmhouse with the modernisation.”

Two key alterations made a huge impact. “A key change was to open up the kitchen into the living areas.”

“Where previously a large cupboard bulkhead separated it from the dining and living areas, opening the kitchen into the dining area and introducing a central modern island transformed the flow of the space.”

Opting to uncover and restore the traditional floorboards, which are matai timber, also transformed the space.

“Cork was glued to the floors, and the rest was carpeted. We stripped the carpets and removed the cork flooring. There was a lot of damage from rusted nails and the cork was especially challenging to sand down, but we achieved it. It came up really, really well.”

Cameron says restoring the floors has considerably changed the home’s feel, creating flow and atmosphere throughout.

His team spent two months on the project, attacking it in stages. “We did the flooring, then the kitchen first, bathrooms, then bedrooms.

“We tiled the bathrooms, replaced an old, framed-in bath with a freestanding version and used wall-hung vanities and large mirrors to increase the space. We also added a toilet to the main bathroom.”

Cameron says a grey-charcoal tile offset the floor, “and we carried that theme through to the shower room, to link the two spaces together.”

The original kitchen was dark and dysfunctional, with the intrusive bulkhead cupboards dominating.

“We removed them and redesigned the way the kitchen worked with a central island that runs in the opposite direction,” he explains.

“This allows the kitchen to interact with both living spaces – a big lounge and the dining and entrance areas.”

Cameron says the kitchen is a complete transformation. “We really like the choices the clients made for the benchtops – the use of bamboo with the black shelving and the restored floor.

“Bamboo is a very hardworking top for a kitchen. If it gets damaged, it’s a material you can sand down, repair and restore, unlike other benchtops. The black/bamboo/wood combination also gives quite an exotic feel."

The living room and bedrooms now look spacious, bright and inviting, after old carpet was swapped for restored flooring and patterned wallpaper was removed. The walls were given a fresh coat of white and the light fixtures were also modernised.

“Uncovering and restoring the floors considerably changed the feel of the place” admits Cameron, “while painting the walls white helped to ‘open up’ the room.”

Cameron’s wife Michelle says modern and refined furniture choices in the living room and bedrooms post-renovation have also made a huge impact. “Old cupboards in the bedrooms were given a lick of new paint to brighten them up too,” she says.

Cameron says Refresh Renovations BOP offers services from Waihi through to Te Puke. “We can do everything from individual kitchen and bathroom jobs right through to whole-house renovations.”

The whole idea behind Refresh Renovations – and what sets them apart from the rest – is that homeowners gain a clear vision and price expectation of their renovation from early on in the process, says Cameron.

“Between 30-40 per cent of renovations in NZ end up in some sort of dispute, and it generally happens during the build stage. When you’re at this stage you’re stuck with the process, and often costs over-run.

“What we do is try to bring the risk forward in the process as much as we can, by developing very clear concepts from the outset of the project.”

During the concept stage, Cameron’s team offer concept drawings. “Unlike technical drawings, these are much more about trying to capture what the client envisages – these are 3D models offering clients a chance to ‘walk through’ what the renovation will look like.

“So by the time we reach the end of the working drawings, we’re able to offer a fixed-price contract.”

Refresh Renovations take care of everything from design and construction, to dealing with all sub-trades involved.

“We have teams we work with on a constant basis, so can we guarantee the quality of the finished product, and we have many suppliers we get good discounts from, so the client benefits here as well.”

For a free initial consultation with Cameron, visit: or call him on: 0800 005 953.