From derelict to mint condition: a garage conversion in Lyall Bay, Wellington

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Wanting more space in her home and privacy for her son, this Lyall Bay homeowner chose to transform her ramshackle garage into a habitable sleepout.

Before After
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Back for more improvements

Our customer-centric approach is why homeowners often engage us for follow-up projects. Emma, the owner of this Lyall Bay four-bedroom family home, had worked with Wellington Renovation Consultant Jenelle Winstanley before and was keen to get her back on the scene for her latest vision: a garage conversion. 
The existing garage came complete with a mechanic’s service pit in the centre and was considerably run-down. Emma wanted to convert the garage into a self-contained sleepout. This would give her son a space of his own and allow her to make alternative use of an area in the main house. A self-contained unit would also create the opportunity for rental income in the future, increasing her property value. 

Consultation, concept drawings, and council consent

Already familiar with the 5-step Refresh method, Emma was well prepared for her consultation with Jenelle. As they discussed her goals, Jenelle expressed her reservations about the garage’s poor condition. She explained the possibility of extensive remedial work that could only be identified after construction began. Emma heeded Jenelle’s warning but was still  keen to move forward with the project. 
Jenelle arranged for designs to be drawn up and then developed into working drawings. The sleepout was to include a bedroom, kitchenette, and well-appointed ensuite bathroom. Additional drainage needed to accommodate the new ensuite called for council consent, as did the new windows. Jenelle arranged for the consent application to be made; once that was granted, construction could begin.

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Getting ahead of challenges

Jenelle coordinated an extensive team of experts — builders, electricians, plumbers, painters, plasterers, and roofers — and sourced materials from Mitre10, Placemakers, and Resene for Emma’s garage conversion. Even in 2022, the entire industry was still dealing with the after-effects of COVID. Knowing there was a plasterboard shortage, Jenelle placed orders early with GIB. Thanks to her foresight, they had enough material to get started on time. 
Work progressed and the crew executed flooring and skylight installations, relined the indoor walls, sealed up the garage door opening and replaced it with a window, and put the finishing touches on the interior. Outside, new plaster was applied to the sleepout so the exterior remained cohesive across both structures on the property. 

A sleek design with modern features

As predicted, there was some remedial work to be addressed but overall it was relatively minor. When COVID caused a few delays during the renovation, Jenelle engaged the team to work weekends to keep the schedule as close to deadline as possible. The project wrapped, tardy by only one week, and to budget at $127,548.
Emma’s new sleepout has a minimalist yet cosy design with mixed-medium flooring, efficient use of space, and modern finishings. One of Jenelle’s favourite aspects is the skylight blind she sourced from Mitre10. The intuitive feature allows occupants to control the amount of sunlight that enters, which isn’t always an option with a skylight.  

Praise for the team

Emma is once again thrilled with Refresh and the wonderful results that Jenelle and her team delivered. See her glowing review here:
“Refresh Renovations had the challenging task of transforming my old 1926 brick garage into a well-insulated, habitable sleepout with ensuite. It's been a journey dealing with supply and COVID absenteeism however we got there in the end! I cannot thank the team enough for all the amazing work everyone has put into successfully delivering my project. Refresh has outstanding professional tradies who are perfectionists and natural problem solvers. The Refresh operations/project/office team is efficient, friendly, and always went out of their way to ensure I was well informed and looked after. I was really impressed with the whole team's attitude, morale, and culture. The way they operate was collaborative and inclusive. Everyone I dealt with through the whole end-to-end process was professional and amazing to deal with - I was well looked after. Thank you!! :)”
Supplies were sourced from Gib, Placemakers, and Resene.

This project was completed in
June 2023
Project description
Garage conversion
New Zealand
Project duration
about 5 months
Cost estimate
Actual cost
COVID delays and supply shortages
Interesting aspects
A modern, compact design
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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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