PRIVATE EXTENSION IN MT EDEN
Ground Level Bungalow Extension
Over a decade ago, French couple Celine and Stephane fell in love with a traditional 1920s/1930s bungalow, right in the heart of Mt Eden. Not only was it in the perfect area to raise their two girls, it also had a private backyard – a rare find for real estate in the central Auckland suburb. But as time went by, they realised their home wasn’t exactly fit for purpose. It most definitely needed some insulation, the girls had outgrown sharing a room, and that “special” backyard – well, they never used it.
When Celine and Stephane decided it was time for renovations, things got off to a rocky start. The house was cold, and desperately needed insulation in the ceiling, but the couple struggled to find a company that could help. A work colleague suggested Kris and his team as they had recently completed a renovation with them and the rest, as they say, is history.
As well as creating a warmer, more comfortable home with insulation and an upgraded central heating system with radiators, Celine and Stephane were keen to create more space, and make better use of the back of their house by reconfiguring the rooms. The original layout was bitsy, with lots of pokey little rooms that were hard to get into.
They wanted a modern, open-plan kitchen, living and dining space that overlooked their backyard, with indoor-outdoor flow that allowed them to entertain and spend more time outside. Also, on the wish-list: an ensuite off the master bedroom and a functional family bathroom.
Once the insulation was sorted, the main focus was on reconfiguring the layout, particularly at the back of the house. This required a mix of internal wall alterations and a small extension to ‘square-off’ the rear of the property.
By doing this, a large, open-plan family area was created, housing a new spacious kitchen, dining and living area, with spectacular oversized sliders opening up almost the entire back wall of the house to the backyard. Recycled timber flooring was used in the new extension to match the rest of the house.
Then, by demolishing an old chimney and using what was the old lounge, an extra bedroom and master ensuite were added. A new spacious family bathroom with dual vanities (perfect for teenage girls) was also added in the middle of the house – within easy reach of both the girls’ bedrooms. The original cast-iron, claw-foot bathtub was removed, refurbished and reinstalled. It’s a striking feature in the all-in-one wet area of the family bathroom, installed with a custom channel-drain to ensure the water from the shower successfully drains away.
Many things about this renovation were quite straightforward. But as with any renovation project, it did come with some of it's own unique difficulties that needed to be considered and addressed.
Access to the house
As with many Auckland homes on elevated sections and in proximity to other properties, access to Celine and Stephane’s house was always going to be a challenge. While the garage is at road level, the house sits up off the road – with the only access being a set of steps up the side of the property. This meant a lot of time and labour was used moving equipment and materials around, and things like new framing had to be constructed on-site. To remain on time and within budget, this project required expert planning and meticulous tracking.
An example of this is when it came time to lift the trusses onto the wall framing for the new extension roof, the team had to man-handle the long pieces of timber up the steep incline – something they would usually use a hiab truck for.
To level off the rear garden, a previous owner had filled it in with loose rock, but unfortunately, this all had to be removed to ensure the natural ground level was used for the foundations of the extension. Considering the site-access issues, this proved quite a labour-intensive task.
To make matters more complicated, the only place to put the skip bin for the excess rock was in front of the garage. Because the garage roof forms part of the front section of the house, the team had to walk over it in order to get the rock into the bin. This meant the roof needed to be adequately protected while working on this phase of the renovations and a debris shoot was used to keep the public passing by protected from falling rock.
Subfloor too low
In some areas, access to the underneath of the house to allow services to be run was difficult because the existing subfloor had been built too low to the ground. In the end, the MyHome team decided to carefully pull up some of the native flooring so they could run the plumbing, before carefully re-laying it.
While it all looks like business as usual from the front, it’s now a party in the back at Celine and Stephane’s home.
What used to be a tiny little opening at the back is now an impressive 7.5 metres of sliding doors into their secluded garden. It provides the perfect backdrop for cooking up a storm in their new kitchen and entertaining family and friends – even if it is a miserable winter’s day. Most importantly, their two girls now each have a room, as well as their own vanity, which Celine says has already resolved a lot of fights.
Celine has heard a lot of people refer to renovations as a never-ending nightmare, but she says her experience has been the furthest thing from that – “and we lived in the house while the renovations were being done!”
“We wanted certainty that the team could deliver on time and on budget, and Kris and the team absolutely delivered to the plan. They provided the perfect balance of listening to the things we weren’t willing to compromise on and offering good suggestions on how we could do some things better.
“They were incredibly respectful, and we really enjoyed seeing them every day. What’s funny is we almost miss them now they’re gone! We couldn’t be happier with the results,” says Celine.
Love what you see? Contact us today about extending your own bungalow.