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The only way is up!

When Roy and Anne Cooper decided their cosy, three-bedroomed home overlooking the rolling greens of Mount Maunganui Golf Course was too small for them, the only way was up.

The couple bought the 60-year-old home three years ago thinking it would suit their needs, but they soon realised they needed more space.

“When we bought this house we weren’t planning to renovate,” says Anne, “but once we moved into it we felt it wasn’t right for our lifestyle.

“We’d always lived in really large houses, and after a while we realised it was a bit small for us, so we started to think about what we wanted to do,” adds Roy.

They toyed with the idea of moving but, with both being keen golfers with a love of the beach lifestyle, they decided to stay put.

“We’ve played golf at Mount Maunganui and bridge around the corner since we moved to Tauranga eight years ago,” says Anne. “It’s lovely being here.

“We started looking at other homes but this was the ideal location, so we went into renovation mode.”

With a footprint of 150sqm on a 400sqm section, their only option was to add another storey, which would create more space and make the most of their sweeping, elevated views of the fairways.

Being on a cross-lease, they sought permission from their neighbour, enlisted the services of an architectural designer and began their nine-month renovation project.

“We didn’t want a hut on top of the house,” says Anne. “We wanted it to look like it had been there forever and not like an add-on.”

The first stage was to convert the deck at the entrance of the house into a conservatory, with a Travertine stone floor and LouvreTec roof. They left an exterior schist feature wall in place, creating a sunny haven for winter sun.

With Roy and Anne choosing to stay in the house during the renovation, the conservatory also provided additional living space while the major work took place.

“We couldn’t move out because we had three dogs at the time, and no-one rents to people with dogs,” says Anne.

Initially cut off from the building work, they were able to make use of the conservatory, kitchen/dining area, one bedroom, the bathroom and the laundry while their main living space was being remodelled beyond recognition.

“It was like an apartment,” says Anne. “For six months we lived quite comfortably, but when they broke through it was like the Berlin Wall coming down. We were exposed to everything. That was the most stressful time.

“But on the upside, there was no housework to do!”

On the ground floor, walls were knocked out to make the main living area and an adjoining bedroom into one large space, with bi-fold doors opening out onto a deck overlooking the golf course.

Due to the sandy ground, concrete foundations two metres deep supported steel pillars. In turn, they supported a sturdy beam that would allow them to add what they refer to as the “Penthouse” above.

“Three truckloads of concrete were piped over the house,” says Roy.

“We joke that in the event of a tsunami, we will hold onto the pillars,” says Anne.

Hallway storage space was utilised for stairs, with a glass balustrade leading up to a luxurious bedroom with two seating areas, a balcony, a walk-in-wardrobe and an en suite complete with walk-in shower.

Light and airy, the “Penthouse” features a cathedral ceiling and, like the rest of the house, is crisply painted in Resene White Pointer, with feature walls and doors in shades of grey. Cavity slider doors enhance the clean lines of the generous space.

“We’d been on holidays at various times and enjoyed hotels with large rooms like this, with a lounge area,” says Roy.

“The only thing missing is a bar,” Anne jokes.

Roy admits he is the one who makes the most of the upstairs space for reading, watching Netflix and scrutinising the golfers below. Meanwhile, Anne enjoys entertaining friends in the palatial living room and on the golf-side deck, which has been re-clad.

“That was the idea - that we would have our own spaces,” says Anne.

Other tweaks include skylights in the kitchen to brighten the room, along with new laminate flooring. They also added a large sliding barn door to conceal an office nook in the hallway. The kitchen and first floor bathroom had been newly renovated when they moved in, so they didn’t need any work.

The garden, also previously landscaped, was restored where heavy machinery had taken its toll.

The advice Roy and Anne have for anyone considering renovating their home is “go for it” - particularly if you love the location of where you are.

“If you can do it, do it, because it saves you from moving,” says Anne.

However, make sure you have a contingency plan for additional funds, adds Roy. “It cost a lot more than we thought it would, but once you start you can’t go back,” he says.

“Don’t do it on the bare minimum. You will need deeper pockets than you think.”

Often, builders won’t quote for renovations because they don’t know what they’ll find, he explains.

However, the additional expense was worth it. They now have the perfect house in the perfect location.

“It’s like having a large lawn and someone else mows it,” says Roy, gesturing towards the golf course.

“My sense of humour wasn’t as good this time last year,” laughs Anne.

“But now I smile a lot.”