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From Dull to Delightful

Determination, a unique aesthetic and an eye for detail have served one property investor couple well in their latest Auckland townhouse project.


31 August 2022

Once brown throughout, a bit dull and outdated, this Ellerslie property is on the market and ready to become someone’s forever home. Melissa and Paul are a couple who know what it takes when it comes to turning a property on its head.

In this renovation the pair exhibited their unique aesthetic and eye for detail. And their determination led to great results in a challenging time.

This three-bedroom home was well overdue for a facelift after being listed for the first time in 18 years last year.

“Everything was brown with carpet throughout and beautiful high ceilings,” Melissa says, alluding to her vision of the home, which they purchased shortly after it came on the market. “We just wanted to make it light and bright.”

The couple had foreseen most of the risks involved in renovating: timing for tradespeople; material shortages; increased costs and potential risk of losing gains.

To limit potential risk they placed their renovation, in particular the flooring and tiling, on Builderscrack. But even with their vision in mind, the couple soon uncovered minor hurdles along the way. The first was the wallpaper.

“We painted over the wallpaper upstairs, but in hindsight we should have stripped it back and started with a blank canvas,” Melissa says.

Timing Challenge

Their second hurdle was timing, a struggle most people are familiar with these days. “Because we’re both working quite a lot, it’s hard to be there to oversee things and make things happen on time,” Melissa says.

What Melissa and Paul had not anticipated was the difficult decision over which flooring to place where: carpet or vinyl.

“My husband said ‘we’ll just go for the cheapest option’, so I said ‘let me do some research and see first’.

“Usually we put carpet throughout because it’s a whole lot cheaper, but I’ve always wanted to do the flooring thing as I just think that laminate and vinyl looks amazing,” Melissa says.

Shortly after settling on a flooring decision, Melissa and Paul posted their job on the Builderscrack website with the expectation they would reduce time in finding the right tradesperson. And they found a good selection of qualified tradespeople fit and ready for the job.

“We had a few people over from Builderscrack and I particularly gelled with a guy called Andy,” Melissa says.

“He was really efficient at booking in a time and brought all the samples over, which was great. He was also able to do the carpet upstairs, so it was a win-win.”

For materials the couple chose SPC hybrid flooring, which is waterproof and durable, so the size and shape doesn’t change over time. The carpet was a good 60oz polyester, which can tolerate sunlight and doesn’t change colour for years.

In addition to the flooring, the couple repainted the house, added a modern bathroom and meticulously decked out living areas and pristine flooring.

“We had some minor delays,” Melissa says, reflecting on their experience. “But the tradies have all been very accommodating.”

The formerly drab space is now light and inviting.

Don't Be Shy

Some people might feel burnt out after renovating and styling their home, but not Melissa and Paul.

Melissa says they are interested in a brick and tile property that’s just around the corner.

“I’m quite keen to do something with white on white, balanced with lots of greenery … something a bit different.

“A lot of people are scared of doing a project because they think they lack creativity and confidence, but I think people shouldn’t shy away from just getting in there, buying a property and tarting it up,” Melissa says.

“I’m all about co-ownership too, where you go in with a friend or family member. Or simply just to buy something now and set it up for your family later.”


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