The lower slopes of Cashmere are probably best known for St Augustines Church and it’s impressive 23-metre bell tower. Opposite the church is a single level timber 1940’s framed structure on a gently sloping lot. The house is perfectly positioned, with glorious views across the city towards the Alps, Kaikouras, and even the ocean with uninterrupted all-day sun.
- KVA Design Ltd
With three bedrooms, two bathrooms, laundry, and large open plan kitchen, dining and living areas, and an expansive timber deck, the spot was primed for a great family home.
Kevin and Debbie never really got excited by anything they had viewed. Until this house.
“I made an offer the same day based largely on the views from the section and a gut feeling that, with some work, this was the right house for us.”
The original layout didn’t really take advantage of the views or the sun.
“The kitchen was hidden in the back of the house, and the spare bedroom and hallway had the best views. The living room was in the middle of the house. and briefly saw the sun.”
A decision to open up the house by layout and introducing new glazing to replace the original windows kickstarted the bulk of the transformation. The main bedroom and bathroom have now been relocated to the east side, so the couple can get up in the morning and go through the French doors onto the deck to enjoy the early sun.
The north-facing living room has access to the deck for natural light and warmth. The dining room and large open plan kitchen now have the magnificent views of the city and beyond. The remaining two bedrooms, laundry, and main bathroom are arranged off a hallway at the rear of the house, overlooking the large back garden.
Debbie says they decided early on that the kitchen had to be a focal point of the house.
“The long white stone benchtop incorporates the induction cooker and oven, with white cupboards below and simple whitewashed oak shelves above. The area is balanced by a large double door fridge and pantry. The benchtop extends in an L-shape to accommodate more workspace, the sink and the dishwasher, effectively screening the bits visitors don’t need to see!”
In the middle of the kitchen is a large freestanding island with a whitewashed oak frame and white stone top. Inevitably, the couple tends to perch themselves here to eat and socialise with friends – definitely the gathering place in the house.
The decoration is relatively simple but executed expertly. Extensive use of full height vertical shiplap timber gives texture to the walls, and the soft oak natural timber flooring adds warmth. The garden was already very mature, with an abundance of fruit trees including plums, apples, apricots, figs, peaches, pears, grapefruits, and lemons, plus many, many varieties of plants and shrubs.
Kevin mentions they have now planted new lawns front and back, but “ultimately we’ll wait for a season or two to see what’s there and then decide what to retain and what to replace.”
Kevin thought the would retain most of the exterior weatherboards and possibly some of the interior walls. Still, when the structure was exposed, it became apparent that they’d need to replace virtually everything.
“On reflection, we probably should have demolished the original structure and rebuilt from scratch! In the end, we replaced the roof, all of the internal walls and linings, the windows, and virtually all of the exterior weatherboards.”
They also removed the original small deck and replaced it with a much larger deck.
On top of this the house required some open-heart surgery.
“The house was rewired; the original water pipes were completely replaced; gas hot water was installed; the original earthenware stormwater and sewer pipes were replaced; a ducted air-conditioning system was installed, and the house was fully insulated above code requirements. We did retain the original soffits, though!”
Working with DJ Hewitt and the team gave Kevin and Debbie confidence in undertaking this ambitious remodel. Kevin notes that Daryl and the team understand good quality and make really good suggestions and recommendations that enhanced the final result – like “installing recessed showers and retaining the original soffits, which weren’t part of the original plan”.
“Everything was open book, with full and complete transparency. The team on site was also excellent; no-nonsense builders that know their trade and a can-do attitude to anything and everything that presented itself to them. The end result has been excellent and their post-build care has been exemplary.”
Living here is everything we knew it would be; comfortable, warm and homely. We never tire of the views of the garden which is continually surprising us. We love the neighbourhood; very friendly without being over the top, and the myriad of walks and cafes in the surrounding area are fantastic.”
Words by Joshua Brosnaham, Photography by Mick Stevenson for Avenues Magazine