Some would say Tom has spent his entire life in the renovation industry, from infancy he has been exposed to renovations. Growing up in Plimmerton (North of Wellington) his parents were constantly renovating their 1940’s house on Greys Road, slowly adding significant basement and workshop extensions in the classic kiwi DIY style. Eventually upgrading to the other side of the train tracks on Motuhara Road meant DIY was no longer appropriate for his parent’s heritage listed property. From then on experienced building contractors and heritage architects were the order of the day to complete major updates and extensions.

Whilst Tom was studying Economics at Canterbury University, the devasting earthquakes struck. When the dust finally settled, the city of Christchurch needed the biggest renovation in NZ’s history! First came a weekend and summer job working for a Dutchman who had a renovation company involved in the home repair program. It was here that Tom gained his first appreciation of quality workmanship - and picked up a few “Dutch” cost-saving tips and tricks as well! 

After completing his Economics degree Tom‘s first full-time job was with Fletcher Construction working in the government-run earthquake home repair program (EQC). Here Tom gained invaluable insight into New Zealand’s largest building company - alongside some of the complexities of working for a government department. During this time, he picked up a lot of knowledge from experienced project managers and contractors working on the EQC’s largest under cap multi-unit claims and with some of their more vulnerable clients.

Then after starting and selling his own project management consultancy and rounding out his time in Christchurch in a management role for New Zealand’s largest roofing company, Tom started with Refresh. 

As a project manager at Refresh Tom pulls from all his previous experience. He believes in the Refresh process and philosophy as it is a much more transparent way of working with clients, making his job easier compared to the current status quo in the building industry. He likes to have a couple of projects of different sizes on the boil at once, but really enjoys seeing out large-scale projects where we have worked with the customer to meet their budget and managed the delivery of the work. High spec kitchens with a few bells and whistles or a beautiful solid timber floor can be especially rewarding also. A few tasteful extravagances might push the budget, but really can take a project to the next level and he says, “clients rarely ever regret making that little bit of extra investment in a few nice things”.

In his spare time, Tom likes to work on all manner of projects in his workshop. He makes furniture, surfboards, ski’s and once painted an old Toyota Landcruiser in his garage. If he’s not in the workshop you might catch him out sailing, skiing, surfing or mountain biking.

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Tom Matthews’s projects

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