A Country Transformation – Natasha Cockerell

Late last year, I began working with new clients, the owners of an eleven year old polystyrene and plaster clad house on a stunning rural lifestyle block near Auckland. The husband and wife team differed from our normal clients, in that their property was performing adequately in terms of weather tightness, showing no signs of cladding failure, or moisture ingress.

The simple design with pitched roofs and good ground clearance allowed the direct fixed cladding to perform its intended function. The clients’ main issue with the house was aesthetics and the effect the cladding had on the value of the property. Valuers and real estate agents have long been aware of the adverse effect that plaster-type claddings can have on the value of residential property.

In this case the original home had the appearance of a city townhouse, which did not sit well within its open rural setting. The clients’ brief was to create an elegant, classic country house by altering, extending as necessary, re-roofing and re-cladding. They wanted to increase the value of their asset and to enhance their lifestyle. This included alterations to improve the functionality, comfort and ambience of the home.

Once the cladding, single glazed joinery and metal tile roofing were removed, generous 600mm wide eaves were added, and the house reclad with painted timber weatherboards, boxed corners and timber window facings to give a classic traditional look. New prepainted corrugated metal roofing and gutters have been used to achieve a more classic appearance too.

Double glazed joinery has been installed throughout, including impressive six metre wide bi-folding doors which open the living space out onto the new covered outdoor room – this almost doubles the available living space. This outdoor room is an attractive and functional addition to the property, providing the perfect environment to entertain friends and family near the existing swimming pool.

The internal layout was reconfigured to allow a gabled entry porch to provide a formal and attractive entry, absent from the original home.

Internally, an unused garage space, which was too small to easily park a car, has been transformed into a study/fifth bedroom. The ground floor toilet is now a full bathroom and upstairs a second ensuite has been added. The lady of the house now has her dream kitchen, opening onto the reconfigured living area, taking full advantage of the idyllic country outlook.

The original four bedroom, two bathroom “townhouse” has been transformed into a five bedroom, four bathroom country residence. This was achieved by more efficient utilisation of the existing space with only a 5.5m2 increase in floor area!

This contemporary country classic now does feel at home in its rural setting, with much of the cost offset by the enhanced value of the property.

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