Khandallah woman Jacqui Cook is a zealous house renovator. Jill Wild gets a tour of her latest creation.
Jacqui Cook confesses she cannot sleep for more than a few hours a night and how lucky that is because there is so much to achieve in any one day. For most, doing a complete makeover on a house would be enough, but sandwich that around planning and overseeing other people's home renovations, catering for corporate functions, nurturing her three children and running general household duties with husband Steve and she admits each day is crammed.
She is effervescent and good- humoured about her passion for houses and it is clear the process of buying, renovating and selling has created upward progress for the family. She has nearly finished her current home, a century-old villa just up the road from the Khandallah shops.
"I thought it would be a simple makeover but it's turned out to be a rebuild," she says with a laugh.
"We bought the house from a family who'd owned it for 60 years, it still had an outside shower."
It is now a light, spacious and substantial four-bedroom home with expansive living-dining, a separate lounge, plus a wide hall - so perfect for young kids as a play area and such a graceful space.
"The more I find out about its history the more I love and appreciate the house," Jacqui confides.
The previous owner's sons have just visited the home to see what she had achieved and were stunned at the transformation.
"We lived in it for a year before we did anything. I wanted to see how it lived, where the sun was and really get an idea about what needed to be done."
There is only a metre stretch of exterior wall along the north face that is original, the rest has been extended, rearranged, had decking added and new joinery installed.
"All the joinery is new, double-glazed but all in keeping with the age of the house. These new sash windows don't rattle in the wind, of course, and they are so easy to operate."
Even an eye-catching leadlight window in the main bathroom was designed by Jacqui.
The stud height is 3.4 metres throughout. Cavity sliders have been built into new walls to maximise space. The cavity where an internal fireplace used to be has been converted to wardrobe and storage space, servicing two bedrooms.
The master bedroom en suite was created entirely from an addition and a third bedroom has doubled in size with the same addition.
Skylights have turned a dark hall into a wonderful light stretch and an internal utility area into an efficient space.
"There were two sheds at the back. We removed one and created a wonderful step down area for barbecues and outdoor entertaining. The other shed remains as a studio space, a room completely separate from the house, with peace, quiet and privacy."
The kitchen is expansive and fitted for the huge amount of food preparation Jacqui does from time to time. The work bench/breakfast bar is 1.2 metres wide, enough space to work from the kitchen side while kids or guests have room on the other side for homework or games.
"There are cupboards under the breakfast bar; they are push open, without handles, so your knees don't get hurt by anything poking out. On the kitchen side, I've got a mix of pot drawers, storage drawers and one pullout cupboard for sauces, dressings, oils, bottles - that sort of thing. The base is solid; I've had a wire base in another house and found the bottles tipped, so I've learnt what's best."
Jacqui has returned to old-fashioned pantry storage having fitted pull-out pantries elsewhere but found them frustrating to use. She has included a built- in, fully wired office in the kitchen so she will have easily accessible computer space.
The lounge fireplace has been converted to a gas flame fire with gas central heating servicing the whole house. The wooden matai floorboards are original, solution-dyed cut-pile carpet is in the bedrooms and lounge.
- The Dominion Post
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