Extensive bathroom and bedroom conversion adds contemporary character to this villa in Kilbirnie, Wellington

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This 1920s villa, nestled in the Wellington suburb of Kilbirnie, needed its bathroom and master bedroom updated. Reflecting the home’s character, Refresh Renovation Consultant, Jenelle Winstanley delivered a contemporary conversion, which included the challenging installation of an Escea fireplace.

Before After
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This beautiful Wellington villa reflected the character of yesteryear with its original rimu framing and flooring, but there were rooms in the home which owner Maxine wanted to see updated.
The bathroom was pokey and needed to be more functional, the master bedroom required a more modern layout and the addition of a wardrobe, and Maxine wanted a new gas fireplace and custom joinery in the lounge.
The extensive work required within the home meant expert project management was required, which Maxine found in Wellington Renovation Consultant, Jenelle Winstanley.

Customisation and comfort

No stranger to renovation projects of Wellington properties, upon meeting Maxine, Jenelle quickly determined exactly what it was that she wanted to achieve in her home. First on the list was an upgrade of the bathroom. Pokey and underutilised, Maxine was looking for a contemporary transformation that would include a tiled floor, underfloor heating, tiled walls and shower, and a barn door.
She also wanted to remove an old rimu fireplace mantel in the lounge and get rid of an old and unsightly gas heater. In its place, she hoped for the installation of a Escea fireplace with custom-designed joinery.
The home’s master bedroom was also on Maxine’s wishlist. She wanted to change the entry to the room, strip out old cupboards and replace them with a custom designed stash wardrobe.

Scoping out the Work

It was essential that Jenelle understood the scope of work Maxine wished to have carried out, as that would enable her to accurately price the renovation from the outset. Controlling cost and staying within budget was important to Maxine, so Jenelle wanted to get it right.
After an initial consultation with Maxine, the first stage of Refresh Renovations’ unique 5-step process, Jenelle was able to determine exactly what it was she wanted to achieve. This then allowed Jenelle to price up the project accordingly as well as oversee the required design documentation needed to carry out the project.
Council consent was also needed given the changes to the bathroom; all of which Jenelle took care of.

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Challenging Construction

Once Maxine was happy with the design and budget of her villa’s renovation, Jenelle engaged her network of trusted trade professionals in the Wellington area to get to work. The project would require the expertise of a carpenter, electrician, plasterer, tiler, carpet layer, plumber, painter, and decorator.
As construction commenced, it quickly became apparent that this renovation project would come with a few challenges: rotten floor joists for one. But the most challenging aspect was the installation of Maxine’s chosen Escea fireplace and the surrounding custom-designed joinery.
Jenelle tackled both challenges head on, keeping Maxine abreast of variations and updated council consents required for the project through open and honest communication. It also proved a learning curve for them both. As Jenelle discovered, homes built at the turn of the 20th century have wobbly walls and floors with very little between the framing and cladding!

Results Worth Waiting For

The variations required on Maxine’s project meant the renovation ran over Jenelle’s original time estimate, but the results were worth waiting for.
The villa’s new modern bathroom has a custom glass screen in the tiled shower as well as underfloor heating. The oversized wall tiles enhance the feeling of space, while minimalist black fixtures create a cool, contemporary vibe. However, the bathroom still pays homage to the history of the home, with decor clover tiles complementing the age of the house.
Maxine’s desire for a reconfiguration of the master bedroom and the addition of a custom-designed Stash wardrobe has been met, with sliding doors connecting to the wardrobe of the home’s second bedroom. Furthermore, this better use of space has brought a modern ambience to the room.
Jenelle has also delivered on the most challenging aspect of the renovation - the fireplace. Taking centre stage in the lounge, Maxine can now enjoy the warmth emitting from her Escea fireplace, while having space on the custom-designed mantel for special mementos and Christmas decorations!

A Renovation of Success

Despite the project’s challenges, Jenelle has delivered on Maxine’s vision of an updated bathroom, fireplace, and redesigned master bedroom. The results give the 1920s villa a more modern, homely appearance while staying true to the era in which it was built.
Supplies were sourced from Placemakers, Resene, Mitre10 and GIB.

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This project was completed in
May 2023
Project description
This 1920s villa needed its bathroom and master bedroom updated
New Zealand
Project duration
8 months
Cost estimate
Actual cost
Rotten floor joists and a challenging fireplace installation
Interesting aspects
Decor clove tiles in bathroom
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Mark Morrison is Renovation Consultant of Morrison Enterprises Ltd, a franchisee of Renovation Franchise Ltd, doing business in Wellington

Jenelle Winstanley is Renovation Consultant of Morrison Enterprises Ltd, a franchisee of Renovation Franchise Ltd, doing business in Wellington.

Actual costs vary by project. Plan ahead to reduce the impact of industry changes or disruptions. For more information see here.

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