MODERN TWIST IN GREENLANE
Ground Level Extension
When Mel and James purchased a classic 1930’s brick house in Greenlane, it wasn’t perfect – but it had potential. Like lots of other Kiwi homeowners, the couple had a grand vision of turning their traditional three-bedroom-one-bathroom dwelling into a modern home for them and their two fast-growing boys.
Mel and James had big dreams, which required a multi-tiered plan of action. To start, the avid sporting couple needed storage space to keep their sports gear safe and dry. A new garage with lots of storage that could also be used as a utility room made logical sense.
Next on the list was reconfiguring the inside of the house. When the property was purchased, the living room was at the front and the kitchen and dining areas at the rear overlooking the back garden. Bi-folding doors installed by the previous owners led to a small back deck from the dining room. One of the three bedrooms was too small, and there was only one bathroom – not ideal for a family of four.
Mel and James had plans to remedy this by adding a second storey to make way for more bedrooms and bathrooms.
Downstairs, they wanted the cramped traditional layout to be opened up, accommodating a new family room and a kitchen extension – improving the flow of the house in the process.
When MyHome Renovations started to do the necessary research, it was identified that the property sits within a heritage zone – alterations had to maintain the original character of the house and other requirements needed to be met. This meant that adding a second storey wouldn’t be an option. Fortunately, a plan B was developed that could deliver most of the items on Mel and James’ wish-list.
Instead of going up, a modern, cathedral-inspired ground-level extension was added to the back of the house, maximising the use of their property without overtaking the outdoors. A spacious, open-plan kitchen, dining and family area created the modern living flow the couple were looking for, while skylights kept rooms light and airy. The garage was also made accessible internally through a side door.
Then, internal alterations to the existing home increased the size of all three bedrooms. A second bathroom was added, with the original bathroom becoming a master ensuite.
Every home renovation project is bespoke and comes with it's own set of challenges to overcome. This project was no different.
Renovations often come with surprises, and in Mel and James’ case, it came in the form of the Auckland Unitary Plan. To get resource consent, alterations could only be made to the back of the property. The front of the house needed to stay the same – roofline included – putting a stop to any plans to build up. A ground-level extension was a welcome alternative, providing much needed additional space while maintaining the property’s roadside character.
New and old materials
Sourcing bricks that match the original on any house can be next to impossible. Instead, it was decided that the new ground-level extension would be constructed from weatherboard in a colour and size that paid homage to the design aspects of the 1930s.
New window joinery also needed to be carefully selected so that it worked well with both the original house and the design of the new extension.
Then, rather than demolishing or covering what used to be the rear external wall, the brick was repaired, sealed, and left exposed, creating a stunning backdrop for the kitchen – and providing design inspiration for the modern industrial look and feel of the whole ground-level extension.
The renovation’s standout features are the exposed timber trusses – they would be as important to the structure of the house as they would be to the design. Rather than using standard pine trusses with all their usual visible fixings, we researched and sourced timber that would offer the required structural integrity along with a smooth texture and colour.
Norwegian Spruce was chosen for its fine, even texture, consistent, straight grain and creamy, light colour. The MyHome team skilfully constructed the trusses on-site and by hand, under the watchful eye of the engineer, to ensure they’d span the area and withstand the weight of the tiled roof.
In keeping with the modern industrial design of the new extension, Mel and James wanted to keep the new concrete slab exposed. Concrete can be temperamental, so it took extra care and time to ensure the finish was as close to perfect as possible. Concrete with the right structural and seismic properties was selected and a grey colour was added to the mix. We carefully managed how quickly the concrete dried to reduce the chance of cracking, and then took extra measures to protect the new floor while we finished the rest of the build.
Looking at the residence from the road, you wouldn’t believe that anything has changed. From the front, Mel and James’ home looks as it always has – a beautiful mix of terracotta and well-trimmed foliage. But around the back, you’ll find it’s a whole different (yet complementary) story.
There are a few things left to do – a new kitchen is next on Mel and James’ list. To help make the renovation funds stretch further, everything from the original kitchen was carefully removed and stored during renovations, then re-installed into the new ground-level extension. When the time comes, Mel and James have what they need to put the finishing touches on their dream family home.
Feeling inspired? Talk to us and explore the possibilities of adding an extension onto your own home.