My property story: Rachel’s dream home renovation

The need to relocate from rural Manawatu to the beachside town of Papamoa provided an opportunity for one renovation loving couple to find their dream beach project. Compromising on land size for the right location, Rachel and Graeme, along with their children, Jayde, Quin and Liam, found the perfect home to lend their hand to. Situated only 200 metres from the beach and close to the town centre, it was the perfect location.

Having built or renovated five previous homes, the experienced duo were confident in undertaking the renovations themselves and saved money in the process. Graeme owns and runs a home insulation business and is now branching into the building industry more while Rachel works as a real estate agent. 

The pair admit to going all in on this project and not cutting corners. “Our motto is do it once, do it right” admits Rachel who advises they managed to complete the renovation on budget.  

I spoke with Rachel about their renovation process and what they love most about their home.


How long did the project take to complete? 

Overall it took 18 months to complete the renovation. We tackled the downstairs area first so we could live there while we completed the rest of the house. 


Were there any complexities with the renovation? 

Changing the deck was a necessity for us. The original deck was squared off and wasn’t very user friendly, meaning our table and chairs didn’t fit the space. We wanted an inviting space where we could enjoy BBQ’s and hosting friends, but in order to make the necessary changes new beams needed to be installed, requiring the majority of the lounge floor having to be rebuilt. 

Graeme spent many long nights there due to the complexity of the cantilevered beams installation. We also found lifting the big stacked slider in place to be challenging. Thankfully we had a good friend we could call on for help to lift the big items, otherwise it was all Graeme and I.


What is your favourite part of the home?

The expansive doors off the lounge area would easily be a favourite. We wanted to make the most of our view so chose to remove the original windows and installed a stacked slider that opens on to the mahogany deck with the glass balustrades.  

I also love the main bathroom with its wavy tiles and feature lighting that can be dimmed for those nights you want to relax in the bath. The new kitchen with its oversized island waterfall benchtop would be another favourite addition. 


How would you describe your design aesthetic?

Clean, crisp and uncluttered. I find uncluttered spaces keep me very calm and relaxed. If I get tired of a rooms’ accent colours, I can easily and cost effectively update it with new throws and cushions.


Kelly Evans is a blogger, writer and stylist. Kelly shares stories on clever people and great design on her website, thehomescene.nzClick here to read more from Kelly.

All images courtesy of Kelly Evans,, and Rachel Martin.

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