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  • Erin Reilly Blog | 'The Renovation Journey Begins'

Erin Reilly Blog | 'The Renovation Journey Begins'

Meet Erin Reilly, and keep up to date on her process with Refresh Renovations!


'Our Renovation Journey Begins'
Blog | 
Erin Reilly


"A few weeks after an enthusiastic auctioneer slapped his hammer on the palm of his hand and pointed to us exclaiming, “SOLD to the embarrassingly emotional lady in blue!” (he didn’t actually say that, but unfortunately that is what I was), my husband and I submitted an online enquiry to the Refresh Renovations team. Within a day we had a call-back. Ballpark budgets were discussed upfront to make sure we knew what we were getting ourselves into, and from there we were matched with a Refresh renovation consultant in our neck of the woods.

Brett LaHood met us at our new address the following week. This was the chance for us to verbally vomit our vague ideas, in the hope that he could turn them into some sort of workable plan. Because the property is on a bit of a slope, we’d thought about building out and under. Then we’d thought about turning the current floor plan into a big kitchen, living and dining area, then putting our bedrooms and a family bathroom into an extension. We had thoughts about pre-fabricated walls, polished concrete, underfloor heating, rainwater tanks … These were all great, but we had no idea how we could implement them – or even if they were possible.

Thank goodness for Brett. He advised us that even though the property was on a slope, earthworks would be possible, but expensive. Using as much of the existing plumbing as possible would help keep costs down too, and pre-fabricated walls were a great idea but access could be an issue.

He suggested that we keep the existing bedroom and bathroom where they were, turn the current living and kitchen areas into more bedrooms, and add a hallway that connected to stairs that stepped down into a foyer area and into the extension. We hadn’t thought of that – but we loved it. That way, we’d be able to keep much of the existing framework and make the most of a brand-new living area in our northerly-facing extension. We also liked the idea of consciously keeping both spaces quite separate, by using different building materials to make a feature of the old versus new, rather than blending the extension into the existing building.

I’m not going to lie: when Ben and I got home that afternoon we were excited, but also overwhelmed. This was our house – our future. What did we want to do? Could we afford it? Would it just be easier to sell up again and try our luck at buying another house that didn’t need any work?

But then we remembered why we wanted to renovate in the first place. We wanted to create a home for our little family. Our home. Not necessary our perfect home, but something that was cosy, comfortable and designed by us – and would increase the value of the property for when we decided to sell up further down the track. In the current real estate market, this was our only option. So we called Brett and booked him in for the next step: concept designs."

The Reillys little Sunnyhaven purchase. (Photo supplied)

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+ Erin is one of our top writers for Renovate bringing renovating flare and home advice to each issue of the magazine. Erin can’t wait for her one-bedroom house to be transformed into a three-bedroom home for her and her young family. The freelance writer and television producer recently bought the property because “the Auckland property market is ridiculous so we decided to buy a smaller place then renovate and extend it into the kind of home we really want.” Erin writes about her journey, with an update every 2 weeks! Stay tuned. 
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    Renovate Magazine