Refresh Renovations Specialist Kim Reiche helped this homeowner to achieve a “beautiful” and “lovely” eco retirement home.
WORDS Mina Phillips
The Refresh Renovations process provided a straight-forward solution for retiree Sue Markram, who wanted to subdivide her property and build a self-sustainable eco-home to live in. Refresh Renovations Specialist Kim Reiche worked with her to ensure the design, planning, consents, building, installations and final touches all went smoothly.
In an initial consultation, Kim worked with Sue to gain a detailed understanding of what the project would involve. Sue wanted her eco-home to have its own water supply and for it to be future-proofed with wide, wheelchair-friendly doorways. An entry-level shower was a priority, as was making the new home low-maintenance, warm and dry.
In the design process, Sue opted for an open-plan layout across the lounge, kitchen, dining room and home office. Two large bedrooms were included in the final design as well as a bathroom and separate toilet, a large laundry (with a dog door) and a garage with a car charger. Essentially, Sue wanted to create a space that provided “everything modern that an elderly person needs for the next stage”.
Once the design and costings were finalised, Kim’s team took care of the project’s council consent requirements and then worked with local suppliers and tradespeople to set out the project’s timeline.
A central aspect to the energy-efficiency of this build was the mono-pitched roof. Positioned to soak up the sun, the roof was completed with skylights and solar tubes. Polished concrete sandstone and shell floors were installed, which soak up the sun and warm up the house in the process. For the colder months of the year, underfloor heating was installed in each room.
A simple, modern design was used for the main bedroom. LED lights with fans were installed, providing year-round comfort. High windows and sliding doors provide plenty of natural light while the colour scheme and efficient storage add to the spaciousness of the room.
In the main bathroom, the tiling was specifically selected for its low-maintenance but it also provides a luxurious finish - especially in contrast with the tiling in the shower niches. The long-term use of the bathroom has been carefully thought-out and future-proofed with a walk-in shower, grab-rail and hand-held showerheads.
While the open-plan areas are modern, there is also a classic elegance to the style of the spaces - from the chandelier and furniture through to the kitchen’s stone benchtops and splashback. The kitchen is highly practical, with a water filtration system that includes a hot tap for instant boiling water. Gas hot water and a fireplace take year-round comfort into account, while double-glazed joinery connects the indoors to the fenced garden where newly-installed water tanks can be found.
After 20 weeks of watching the construction of her new home, Sue has now moved in and is enjoying watching the rising and setting of the sun through the house’s wide windows.
“The windows have been positioned for natural light and maximum heat from the sun.”, tells Kim, adding: “the dog follows the sun around the house, moving position as the sun moves.”
Sue thinks that her “beautiful new home” is “lovely”:
“May I thank Kim and her team at Refresh Franklin and Manukau for designing and building my lovely retirement home. My bathroom is beautiful, your Michael Angelo tiler tiled amazingly. Your plumbers and electricians were fantastic. The silent painters were quick, quiet and considerate. I have ample water tanks with a state of-the-art-filtration system. Kim, you considered all my requirements. The garden, with my easy-to-maintain raised beds, is a pleasure. Thank you all so much.”