In 2011, Matthew and Shireen moved overseas for work. While away, they purchased an investment property in the Auckland suburb of Greenlane – a beautiful 100-year-old bungalow in original condition, with a separate unit out the back. When their first grandchild was born five years later, they moved back to New Zealand and started making plans to transform the bungalow into their new family home.
Matthew and Shireen’s vision for their Greenlane property was multi-faceted. They had big renovation plans for the bungalow itself, but also wanted to make better use of the entire site while protecting the unit at the rear for future development.
While they had fallen in love with the bungalow’s old-world charm, the traditional layout just didn’t suit a modern lifestyle. Instead of open-plan spaces and indoor/outdoor flow, the home’s living and dining areas were instead quite separate from each other, with a small kitchen at the back. The footprint of the house also felt cramped by modern standards.
The couple’s renovation plans included an updated kitchen and opening up the dining and living rooms for better connection. However they also wanted to investigate the possibility of increasing the overall size of the home so that they had extra space when family and friends visited. It was also important that the character of the home was retained.
With the bungalow sitting well back on the section in Greenlane, the rear unit felt uncomfortably close. By moving the bungalow forward by eight metres, the two homes would make better use of the land.
At the same time as the move, it was proposed that the house could also be lifted and a new ground floor built underneath in order to increase the floorplan and gain the much desired extra space. This new space would feature a double garage, three new bedrooms, an extra family room and a bathroom.
Upstairs, by removing just a couple of walls a spacious new kitchen and open plan living/dining could be achieved. The original porches would be lifted along with the rest of the house, providing the luxury of outdoor spaces flowing from the new kitchen and master bedroom suite.
Kris and the team at MyHome Renovations knew a project of this size and complexity would have many challenges. It was important they were identified early so that appropriate plans could be put in place.
Moving the house
Moving a dwelling is never a simple task and requires specialist expertise and equipment. Supported by joists, the house was first lifted by 1.5 metres. This created access for the strengthening work required for when the home would go from one to two storeys. After being lifted onto large rollers, the house was then inched forward, using hand winches. The final stage of the move saw the home lifted just over three metres, then temporarily supported by styes while the concrete foundation was laid, and the ground floor framing built. Working around the support styes created an extra challenge – the concrete slab had to be poured in sections, rather than all at once.
Connecting the old with the new
Not unexpectedly and as with most beautiful old homes, this Greenlane bungalow was out of square. It meant that when it was lowered onto its new ground floor framing, the corners didn’t quite meet up. It took time and skill to get things plumb so that no damage was done to the existing structure and the final outcome looked great.
Design of the exterior
A challenge faced by our designer was that the resource consent for the bungalow renovation required the proposed design not be too imposing or dominate the streetscape. The bungalow’s new exterior was carefully designed using 3D software. This ensured it blended well with its surroundings and the neighbouring houses in Greenlane. Working hard to preserve a beautiful old tree on the berm also helped to softened the view of the house and gave it a settled feeling.
Keeping the character
The Council required that the character of the bungalow be retained, something which Matthew and Shireen also wanted. Extra care and consideration needed to be taken to match materials and build styles while still delivering to modern standards. Materials were saved and repurposed wherever possible. For example, the original front porch became a deck off the master bedroom and the original master bedroom’s leadlight window now takes centre stage above the new staircase. The fibrous plaster ceiling panels in the kitchen were also patched and repaired.
All new materials and fixings were carefully sourced to ensure they would blend with the style of the original. Examples of this can be seen in the matched finishing lines and the new entranceway panelling, which was painstakingly hand-machined to achieve the right look. Bolts were hidden by timber to keep consistent with the bungalow style and deck handrails were made from timber weatherboard instead of glass.
Even though Matthew and Shireen were able to watch their bungalow renovation progress from their temporary home in the back house, they were still amazed by the workmanship when they moved back in. “She’s such a pretty, grand old lady. I love my home, I love coming home – it’s a good day if I don’t have to go anywhere,” says Shireen.
There’s now plenty of room for family, friends and their little ones when they come to stay, and Matthew and Shireen enjoy their new view of Cornwall Park from their back deck. The couple had renovated properties on their own before – but this is one project she’s thankful they got the experts to help with.
“We’re hoping to do something down the back, and I’d go straight back to Kris and Barb and the team. People would always ask if it was stressful, but they made everything seamless – from nailing down skilled sub-contractors to managing the budget. It would’ve been very stressful doing it ourselves.”
Like what you see? Inspired to explore the possibilities of your own bungalow renovation?