So much so, that when they renovated their Welcome Bay home, Chris edged it with a Pilot Bay-inspired timber boardwalk.
The pine decking wraps snugly around the master bedroom and living space, creating outdoor areas for all seasons.
“We love going to the beach,” says Jill, “and this is like having our own little bit of the beach at home.”
“Motorbikes are my thing, not DIY, so I’m really pleased with how it came out,” says Chris.
Aqua accents continue the coastal theme inside, which has undergone a modest but extremely effective 25sqm extension.
The 1990s peach kitchen and cramped living area are now a distant memory, after Jill and Chris got Refresh Renovations in to transform their home.
Taking the stress out of it
“We had a pretty good idea of what we wanted to do,” says Chris, “but neither of us are design-minded. We went with Refresh Renovations because we wanted help with design and managing the renovations.
“They were amazing – we didn’t deal with any of the suppliers at all, except when we were choosing the colours and styles.”
“It really took the stress out of it,” adds Jill. “We were able to rely on them, and leave it to the experts.”
Jill and Chris bought the house in 2010 with no plans to renovate. However, with the arrival of their son Hayden, 2, and plans to grow their family, they realised they needed to upsize.
Cameron Ironside and his team at Refresh were the ideal fit to assist in achieving this, from their designers who worked closely with Chris and Jill to develop early concept drawings, to guiding the project through council and build completion on a fixed price contract.
“We knew we wanted to have another kid, but the house only had three bedrooms and one of them we used as an office,” says Chris.
“We wanted another bedroom and were looking at moving, but every place we looked at had some compromise or another, so we decided to do it this way.”
Creating more living areas
By extending the living area out by 21sqm and reconfiguring it, they were able to create a new master bedroom at the front of the house and a more spacious living area. An additional 4sqm was gained by building out to the roofline in the front, making room for an en suite.
“We never had a proper front door - there was just a ranch-slider that came straight into the lounge,” says Chris.
“Now we have a little entranceway when you come in. It’s much nicer and tidier,” says Jill.
Bi-fold doors in the new master bedroom open out onto the ‘boardwalk’, with a garden backdrop which will be landscaped to create a private oasis, away from the bustle of family life.
“The plan is to have a cafe table and chairs out there,” says Chris. “The idea is that this will be our space.”
Following the boardwalk around the side of the house takes you to a deck at the rear of the property, from which the living/kitchen area spills out through large bi-fold doors.
“It’s a really big change. We’re so happy with the result,” says Chris.
The kitchen, which was previously crammed into a small corner space, now runs the length of the room, with sliding windows looking out over a previously under-used lawn.
Crafting a slab of macrocarpa into a bench to sit outside underneath the window is Chris’ next DIY project.
“We love the connection with the lawn,” says Jill.
“We get the morning sun, filtered through the cherry trees.”
The white Shaker-style kitchen includes two pantries and more storage space than they ever thought possible.
“We use the blender a lot more now, because we have space for it and it’s easy to get out and put away,” says Jill.
Laminate benchtops were used in lieu of stone to reduce costs, with a fixed feature table in ‘light cherry’ extending out the kitchen island. Overhead, Scandinavian-style pendant lights combine concrete and wood.
“We dine at the table every night now,” says Chris. “We always used to eat on the couch.
“The room works so well for us. It’s not a massive space, but the design makes good use of the space.”
A neutral sofa fits neatly into the lounge nook, over which a large picture window brings additional light into the room.
A television hangs on the wall, deliberately discrete. “One of our big design features was that we didn’t want a lounge where everything was pointing at the TV,” says Chris. “We wanted the TV to be incidental.”
Opting for cool tones, the luxury vinyl tiles on the floor are a grey wash colour, and the walls have been painted Resene Quarter Foggy Grey to match the rest of the house.
“We painted the interior five years ago, and we loved it so much we matched it to that colour,” says Chris.
Throughout the space are coastal references, from cushions to artworks. A painting of an Italian village with azure seas that Jill and Chris bought from a street vendor in Wellington takes centre stage, along with a beach sunset canvas that reminds them of their honeymoon.
“It’s just luxurious living with all this space,” says Chris, while also pointing out that their home has a deceptively small footprint.
“Including the garage it’s now 144sqm. If you’re looking to build a new house, many builders start at 240sqm. But we don’t need big spaces. You can still live well in a smaller space if it’s well designed.”