A dramatic transformation completed by Morel Construction perfectly aligns with the active lifestyle of this family.
With two growing boys on the brink of teen-dom, Kim and Graeme Rhodes pondered their options for the future: buy another home or renovate. Their home had survived the quakes largely unscathed, bar a few minor cosmetic updates, and the couple enjoyed the advantages of their location – with easy access to the local shops and a park literally on their front door step. The decision was made to stay put and renovate.
The first stage included the kitchen, scullery and two living areas, while the second stage included the downstairs bathroom, laundry, front entry with staircase, and installation of the spectacular swimming pool.
Led by Dax Morel of Morel Construction, with the interior spaces designed by Rochelle Foster, alongside Nicholas Yardley – both creative directors of Yardley and Foster Architecture – the renovations took place in two five-week stints. Completed in record time, Dax says they ‘pulled out all the stops’ in order to create ‘these new and improved spaces’ within this ambitious timeframe.
Dax says this impressive feat was achieved by conveying clear expectations to his crew of highly skilled, loyal subcontractors, and through meticulous planning down to the last detail.
On hand every step of the way, Dax was a ‘pleasure to deal with’, says Kim – adding that his follow-up service, since completion of the job, has been ‘impeccable’.
Dax echoes Kim’s sentiment, saying it was a joy to work with ‘solution-orientated clients’, who were keen to try something completely new.
A new and improved layout for the kitchen, dining and living areas was high on the couple’s list of priorities, as they sought to achieve greater visual and physical connection and to optimise functionality.
Working in close collaboration with Morel Construction, Rochelle Foster decided to remove a key load-bearing wall that originally divided the two living and dining areas.
Entrusting a relatively loose brief for the kitchen to their architect, Rochelle was able to offer the couple design options that met their requirements, while ‘pushing the boundaries and delivering what they never dreamt possible’.
When it came to the design, Rochelle ‘hit the nail on the head’, says Kim. ‘We loved all of Rochelle’s ideas and embraced them whole-heartedly.’
Ample storage has been carefully integrated into the kitchen island and wall cabinetry, which was manufactured and installed by Advanced Joinery. Scooping three accolades at the 2017 New Zealand Master Joiner Awards, Managing Director Greg Ayers says the astute craftsmanship behind this stunning kitchen exemplifies the award-winning work they carry out for all their clients.
Designed with high functionality in mind, the pair’s sleek new contemporary kitchen serves as the home’s central entertainment hub, offering Kim a clear line of sight from one end of the property to the other. Whether it’s keeping up with conversations with guests in either of the living areas, or keeping a watchful eye over her boys playing cricket with friends in the backyard or in the pool out front, Kim can now stay connected to the action from the new vantage point the kitchen delivers.
Duly impressed with Rochelle’s work during the first phase of renovations, the couple asked her to redesign the downstairs bathroom and laundry too. Specifying S&T white gloss square tiles, supplied by Nextdore, Rochelle collaborated with Advanced Joinery to manufacture and install the sleek benchtop, above which hangs a porcelain ‘bone crackle’ pendant handcrafted by New Zealand ceramist, Gidon Bing.
The main living area is a cosy and relaxing space where the whole family comes together on chilly winter evenings. Providing all gas and plumbing solutions throughout the downstairs renovations, Aquapro Plumbing + Drainage worked closely with the architect on the design of the custom built fireplace, and with the electrician so that the family can operate the gas fire and entertainment system wirelessly from one device.
Undoubtedly the home’s tour de force, the new swimming pool takes pride of place at the front of the property against a backdrop of Australian blue gum trees courtesy of the park opposite. The pool’s layout and the design of the surrounding areas, undertaken by Goom Landscapes, has resulted in a stunning outdoor living space for this active family of four.
Paying particular attention to the materials surrounding the pool, Goom’s Senior Landscape Architect Emma Johnston says they selected tiles to marry with the existing surfaces, along with frameless glass fencing for uninterrupted views of the pool from inside the house, which also acts as a giant water feature, and lighting options in an array of colours to accentuate the pool’s twin fonts. When it came to softening the pool's hard edges, the plants selected needed to be robust - to thrive in such a high-use area.
With clever design, executed with ‘detailed craftsmanship’, Emma says that, despite the challenges this small area presented, in addition to council road setback stipulations, they achieved spectacular results.
Self-confessed ‘sun worshippers’, Kim and Graeme love nothing more than lounging by their new pool in the warmer months and can’t wait for summer to roll around.
Words: Majka Kaiser
Photography: Mick Stephenson