WORDS Patricia Moore
At the age where many of their contemporaries are contemplating a move to a retirement or lifestyle village, a Wellington couple have chosen to stay put, instead renovating the dated kitchen and bathroom of their hilltop Hataitai apartment, one of a number in Mount Carmel Mews, on the site of a former Catholic church and school. It’s a location they enjoy with its relaxed village atmosphere and ease of access to the city.
The couple’s aim was to make the kitchen and bathroom more convenient and user-friendly; by renovating and refurbishing the two areas they’ve also added to the value of the property in one of Wellington’s sought-after suburbs.
After 20 years the kitchen was becoming decidedly tired and, as knee joints became less flexible, the corner cupboards were increasingly difficult to access. However, the couple liked the layout but decided it was time to modernise it and install cupboards with easy access. They felt by refurbishing the cupboard and drawer fronts and adding a new bench top they’d achieve their aim.
They also wanted to future-proof the bathroom by replacing the original shower cubicle with a walk-in shower that would allow wheelchair access, should that ever become necessary.
An advertisement for Refresh Renovations led to the couple making a call to discuss their ideas on refurbishment. Charmaine Davis, renovation specialist and project manager for Wellington Refresh Renovations director, Lia Boersma, was their first point of contact. Having listened carefully to what they wanted Charmaine explained the Refresh process – concept to working drawings, quotes and actual build – then introduced kitchen designer Katie Fagg.
It soon became clear that the simple refurbishment the couple had envisaged was not the answer but, with a comparatively modest increase in the budget, they could have a completely new kitchen with all the latest bells and whistles. While this approach was obviously more expensive, they decided it was the right thing to do.
Once the kitchen design was signed off, Charmaine was able to give the owners an exact time frame; 6 weeks, start to finish, which was perfectly timed to ensure the new look would be unveiled at an important family occasion. The owners opted to live-in while the work took place. (stage one, which involved the complete demolition of the existing kitchen, saw them setting up temporary cooking arrangements in the garage). The new design stayed with the U-shaped kitchen layout and, to the delight of the owners who enjoy retaining a special piece of their old kitchen, incorporated the original heart rimu bar top – professionally refurbished, and “looking like a million dollars”.
Installing the new wet-room style shower was included in the project’s 6 week time frame and was a straight-forward exercise which saw them able to retain the original flooring. In the sleek new kitchen, wood grain vinyl tiles replace the old kitchen flooring adding an easy-care finishing touch.
Access is frequently an issue for Wellington renovation projects and with multiple trades people involved this one was no exception. Using the Refresh Project Plan Charmaine solved any issues around access with smart scheduling of the various aspects of the job. The apartment owners also endeavoured to avoid any snarl-ups by keeping their neighbours informed.
By opting for a complete kitchen renovation, including new appliances, costs were higher than originally budgeted for, however the couple believe that given current property values in the area, the whole project cost, including new appliances, is a sound investment.
And they’re confident contracting Refresh Renovations to handle the project achieved what would have been difficult - if not impossible - for them. They say the planning was so thorough there were no surprises and, from managing the project and co-ordinating everyone involved over the 6 week period, to the quality of the trades-people to whom Refresh has access, the whole process flowed smoothly with everyone going that extra mile. The owners are thrilled with the outcome. “Refresh were on time and on budget. We signed off at 6pm on the day of our deadline! You can’t ask for more than that.”
State of the art technology plays a vital role in the Refresh Renovations process, says Lia. “We have our own project management system to manage projects on a day-to-day basis. All our on-site builders can login to this system to send updates to the project manager and upload photos and videos of progress. It’s a fantastic system for keeping everyone involved in a project in the loop, including the client.
“Clients can login to the system to see how their project is tracking and see photos and videos from the project site.” It’s helpful in making decisions about details on site, she says. “The project manager can upload a photo or video and ask for the client’s opinion about particular details, which they can then approve or make comments online.
“The Refresh Renovations commitment to technology means your renovation project will run more smoothly and more efficiently.”
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