Feature Reno - Future Proof, Lyttelton

Posted Thursday, 26 November 2015
Jacqueline and Mike Yoder instantly fell in love with their hillside property nearly eight years ago, but knew from the start that they would outgrow the small villa. ‘With three children it was too small for us but it was a magical property that we couldn’t walk away from. A renovation was always on the cards, it was just a matter of when’, shares Jacqueline. The time came in the wake of the Canterbury earthquakes.
For builder Anthony Bown of Smith and Sons Port Hills, this project is a wonderful example of a holistic approach to building, with owner, architect and builder sharing the same vision – an earthquake repair and renovation to improve family life. With building success often reliant on sound communication, Anthony and his team pride themselves on their ability to guide owners through the building process to achieve the desired end results
‘We wanted something which looked like it had always been’, describes Jacqueline, ‘while balancing what makes the property so special – the views and sense of intimacy’. Despite its small floor plan, the home ‘lived well’ and boasted intimate spaces that could be shut off easily from one another, a feeling the couple didn’t want to lose.
No stranger to the property, or those who call it home, family friend and architect Brita Corbett was brought to the table to assist with plans. ‘This particular dwelling stands out in the community because of its location’, shares Brita. ‘And is the hub for many parties. While the brief was simple – extend the home to make it more functional for a family of five – due to its prominence, it was important that any new building work did not to detract from the home’s old world, white weatherboard charm.’
As with many Lyttelton residences the house is orientated along opposing axes, north (for the sun) and south (for the view). ‘Two new bedroom spaces were located side by side along the two axes, giving each space a distinct character. They were then separated from the main bulk of the house under a small simple gable form’, continues Brita. 'This separate structure sits comfortably next to the original house without overwhelming or detracting from it. The link back to the original structure then allowed for an additional small lounge and office. Both areas have given the family much needed-breakaway space.’
While the extension to the home is conservative in size, coming in around 60sqm, the project was a large one, with earthquake repairs, excavation, repiling and more to contend with. 'This was essentially our second earthquake repair job on this house’, describes Anthony. ‘After the September quake we took out the fireplace in the living room, opening the area up to the kitchen/dining. Then, following February, we had foundation damage and repairs on a much larger scale; and this flowed into the renovation work.’
Describing the manner in which the earthquake struck the peninsula on which the home sits, Anthony recalls a clear crack running from the edge of the garden, through the front of the entrance steps and throughout the foundation of the home. As a result, the entranceway, as well as the foundations, required major repair work. With a passion for, and understanding of, older homes, Anthony dedicates much of his time and career to restoring, repairing and renovating character houses. ‘It’s about giving another life to them’, he explains. ‘They come with a raft of challenges and require nimble thinking and technical expertise, but seeing the end result makes it all worthwhile. You have to know and love character to do it.’
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